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My 2-year-old has started complaining that his eyes are shaking quite frequently. However, I am never able to see the shaking myself. It has bothered him enough at times that he has cried. Also, it's only one eye that will shake at a time—what might this be?

This is an interesting question. Shaking of the eyes, or nystagmus, can be so subtle that it is difficult for others to recognize upon inspection of another person's eyes. A child can be born with nystagmus or develop it later in life. The fact that your son actually recognizes the shaking suggests that the problem is acquired. There are a number of problems that can be associated with nystagmus. Some of these problems do not progress while others can be associated with neurological disease. Alternatively, your son may not be detecting shaking of the eyes at all, but rather may be detecting some other abnormality such as a spasm of the eyelid muscles, which is often described by patients as shaking of the eyes. Your son's complaint should be fully evaluated.

Answered by: David K. Coats, MD Dr. David K. Coats

Categories: Eye Conditions, Children's Eye Health

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Answered: Jan 11, 2013

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