Perceptual learning treatment for nystagmus

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Nystagmus Network Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Mahesh Joshi
  • Institute: University of Plymouth
  • Region: South West
  • Start date: April 2023
  • End Date: April 2024
  • Priority: Treatment
  • Eye Category: Other
Brief Lay background

Nystagmus causes involuntary movement of the eyes, usually from side to side.

Most people with the condition will have reduced vision – which can affect their ability to carry out everyday activities such as reading or driving.

What problem/knowledge gap does it help address

Current treatment options for nystagmus include surgery or contact lenses, which can only provide limited improvements in vision – and they don’t work for everyone. There is an urgent need for effective new treatment strategies.

Perceptual training – which involves performing repeated visual tasks – has helped improve vision in people with another eye condition called amblyopia (lazy eye), which has some similarities with nystagmus.

Aim of the project

To evaluate if perceptual training can help to improve vision for people with nystagmus – and if so, whether these improvements are lasting.

Key procedures/objectives
  1. Recruit 12 adults with nystagmus who will undergo a perceptual training programme – a computer-based session three days per week for four weeks.
  2. The researchers will evaluate the participants' eye movements and ability to detect moving and static objects before and after completing the programme – to find out whether it leads to overall improvements in their vision.
  3. Follow-up evaluations will be carried out three months after the training is completed – to establish whether any improvements in vision are maintained over time.
Potential impact on people with sight loss

Patients could ultimately benefit from an effective new treatment for nystagmus – leading to improvements in their vision that will have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.