Timothy C. Hain, MD Page last modified: April 21, 2017
Occasionally individuals with acquired blindness develop a pendular nystagmus, the so-called "nystagmus of the blind" (e.g. Devogelaere et al, 2006; Lorenz and Gampe, 2001).
In some cases, the blindness is from prosaic causes such as diabetic retinopathy, in others it is associated with retinal disease such as retinitis pigmentosa, achromatopsia or albinism. In albino's, the nystagmus is thought to be due to co-existing abnormalities in the wiring of the optic chiasm. Furthermore, according to the pediatric literature, Visual disorders, present during early life, can also produce a pendular nystagmus. It usually resolves spontaneously in 1-4 years.
We are not sure why nystagmus of the blind is occasional, or why it often resolves in children.