Acquired Nystagmus.Curr Treat Options Neurol. 1999 Mar; 1(1):68-73.CT
Patients with acquired forms of nystagmus may suffer from oscillopsia and blurred vision; abolishing or reducing nystagmus ameliorates these symptoms. Ideally, treatment of nystagmus should be directed against the pathophysiologic mechanism responsible. Identification of nystagmus pattern is important in directing therapy and occasionally requires electronic eye movement recording for precise characterization. Patients with acquired pendular nystagmus, particularly those with multiple sclerosis, often benefit from gabapentin, a drug with few side effects. Scopolamine, clonazepam, and valproate are also useful in some patients. A new drug, memantine, was effective in treating pendular nystagmus in one study, but it has not yet been approved for use in the United States. Periodic alternating nystagmus usually responds to baclofen. Central vestibular nystagmus, including downbeating and upbeating forms, can be treated with baclofen or clonazepam. In some patients, treatment of an underlying condition, such as periodic ataxia, Whipple's disease, and Chiari malformation, abolishes nystagmus and improves vision. If pharmacologic therapy fails, optical devices can be considered in selected patients. Injections of botulinum toxin and surgery to weaken extraocular muscles are prone to induce diplopia and may precipitate plastic-adaptive ocular motor changes that eventually negate the beneficial effect.