An 8-year-old has nystagmus like eye movement while looking outside the car. Why?

Q. Is it normal for an 8-year-old to have nystagmus like eye movement while looking outside the car?

Answered by
Dr. Manjunath Natarajan
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 18, 2023

Hello doctor,

My 8-year-old son has nystagmus like eye movement only when he is in the car looking out the window and as soon as he looks at me, it stops.



Welcome to

I understand your concern, this is quite a common issue most children at his age develop. The eye uses several mechanisms which help to keep it steady and focused in on a target. Such mechanisms are inoperative when the person is just looking in a particular direction and not trying to see anything specific or while daydreaming. When you redirect his attention to you, he looks at your face (the target), hence the nystagmus stops. How is he in class, is he able to see his books or what the teacher writes on the board, does he have problems with seeing these? I recommend seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist just to be sure that he is not developing any refractive errors. But like I said, this is quite common at his age and is not a serious problem. In case you need any further information, please send me a scanned copy of his doctors records, I will do my best to help.

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