Nystagmus Characteristics in Albinism: Unveiling the Link to Foveal Hypoplasia and Visual Acuity

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 Dec 1;64(15):30. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.15.30.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the association among nystagmus characteristics, foveal hypoplasia, and visual acuity in patients with albinism.

Methods: We studied nystagmus recordings of 50 patients with albinism. The nystagmus waveform was decomposed into two types: dominantly pendular and dominantly jerk. We correlated the nystagmus type, amplitude, frequency, and percentage of low velocity (PLOV) to Snellen visual acuity and foveal hypoplasia grades.

Results: The grade of foveal hypoplasia and visual acuity showed a strong correlation (r = 0.87, P < 0.0001). Nystagmus type and PLOV had the strongest significant (P < 0.0001) correlation with visual acuity (r = 0.70 and r = -0.56, respectively) and with foveal hypoplasia (r = 0.76 and r = -0.60, respectively). Patients with pendular nystagmus type had the lowest PLOV, and the highest grade of foveal hypoplasia (P < 0.0001). Severe foveal hypoplasia (grade 4), was almost invariably associated with pendular nystagmus (86%).

Conclusions: Foveal hypoplasia grade 4 is associated with pendular nystagmus, lower PLOV, and worse visual acuity. Based on these results, nystagmus recordings at a young age may contribute to predicting visual outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Albinism*
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous* / complications
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous* / diagnosis
  • Eye Abnormalities*
  • Fovea Centralis / abnormalities
  • Humans
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic* / diagnosis
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Vision Disorders
  • Visual Acuity