Medical News Today: What to know about oscillopsia

Oscillopsia typically develops as a symptom of an underlying condition. Currently, there is no specific or approved way to treat oscillopsia as a condition in itself. The type of treatment, therefore, depends on the underlying cause.

Nystagmus is a condition of involuntary eye movement. If the cause of oscillopsia is nystagmus, treatment options include:

  • special glasses or contact lenses that help clear the vision, which may slow eye movements (usually in congenital cases)
  • medication or surgery to treat conditions that cause nystagmus
  • stopping drug or alcohol use, if applicable
  • in rare cases, surgery to reposition the muscles that control the eyes to allow for a more comfortable head position that limits eye movement

Vision therapy

Different types of vision therapy may also help treat conditions that cause erratic or uncontrollable eye movements, such as nystagmus. Vision therapy is generally effective in reducing or even resolving oscillopsia.

Optometric vision therapy (VT) involves doing progressive exercises under the guidance of an optometrist. These exercises help retrain elements of vision and improve visual skills.

For example, they may involve reading lines of text using various tools, such as filters or therapeutic lenses. Alternatively, a person may read the text while standing on a balance board.

Oscillopsia may also respond to various oculomotor-based auditory feedback techniques, which help someone “listen” to their abnormal eye movements and gain more control over them.

There is also some evidence that relaxation practice may help someone learn how to manage the symptoms of oscillopsia more effectively.


Doctors rarely prescribe medication as a treatment for oscillopsia if the cause is a form of nystagmus.

However, a few studies have found that some conditions causing oscillopsia may respond to medications that block types of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an amino acid that occurs naturally and functions as a chemical messenger in the brain. Examples of these medications include clonazepam (Klonopin) and gabapentin (Neurontin).

In some cases, anticonvulsant and beta-blocker medications may also help treat conditions that cause oscillopsia.


In some cases, the brain may learn how to adapt to oscillopsia over time.

Infants who have congenital conditions that cause oscillopsia may adapt to it during neural development, although their vision may still have other impairments.

However, the brain typically cannot adapt if oscillopsia symptoms fluctuate over time.

Furthermore, in cases involving severe or irreversible damage to the brain and vestibular ocular system, oscillopsia may be permanent.

In cases where oscillopsia symptoms do not respond to treatment for the underlying cause or there is no known cause, very few other treatment options exist.

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