Apparently Involuntary Eye Movement or Nystagmus is quite common in MS, although I have not, personally, experienced it. It is also fairly common in the general population with as many as 1 in 5,000 experiencing the condition at some time or another.

Like other symptoms, Nystagmus, in itself, is not indicative of multiple sclerosis. If you present with this condition, you should consult with an ophthalmologist or a neurologist.

Nystagmus Involuntary eye movement affects visionNystagmus Involuntary Eye Movement

With Nystagmus the eyes exhibit rapid rhythmic movement usually in the horizontal plane, which may slow to a steady rotation from side-to-side just as if you were admiring a view from a car window.

Acquired Pendular Nystagmus is the form most commonly presented in MS and is due to a loss of coordination between the eyes. This may be caused by a lesion affecting the Cranial Nerve III (Oculomotor Nerve) or IV (Abducens Nerve).

Other visual problems encountered in MS include Optic NeuritisDiplopia and Light Phosphenes all of which may be exacerbated by heat (Uhthoff’s phenomenon) or fatigue.

Multiple Sclerosis is not the only condition that can present nystagmus:


  • Head Trauma
  • Stroke
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Lateral medullary syndrome
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Albinism
  • Noonan syndrome


While I must have experienced Nystagmus to some degree in the past; to precipitate the writing of this article. It is no longer a symptom I am currently aware of. But, the changeable nature of MS could easily account for this. Perhaps the Nystagmus no longer exhibits in my eyes, perhaps I am just unaware of it, or perhaps the dementia is playing games with my mind.

After many years of reaching a fuller understanding of what multiple sclerosis is. It comes as no surprise that this type of symptom is so common.

My eyesight has been quite badly compromised by the damage that multiple sclerosis is inflicting on my optic nerve.

However, I am convinced that the damage is not irreparable as I, occasionally, have periods of quite good vision. This leads me to believe that rather than physical damage to the optic nerve, I have inflammation around the nerve which will subside from time to time.


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