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03 July 2022 : Case report  Switzerland

Pharmacological and Behavioral Strategies to Improve Vision in Acquired Pendular Nystagmus

Unusual setting of medical care

Hassen Kerkeni1BCDEF*, Dominik Brügger2ABCDE, Georgios Mantokoudis3BDE, Mathias Abegg2CDE, David S. Zee45ABCDE

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.935148

Am J Case Rep 2022; 23:e935148

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Acquired pendular nystagmus (APN) is a back and forth, oscillatory eye movement in which the 2 oppositely directed slow phases have similar waveforms. APN occurs commonly in multiple sclerosis and causes a disabling oscillopsia that impairs vision. Previous studies have proven that symptomatic therapy with gabapentin or memantine can reduce the nystagmus amplitude or frequency. However, the effect of these medications on visual acuity (VA) is less known and to our knowledge the impact of non-pharmacological strategies such as blinking on VA has not been reported. This is a single observational study without controls (Class IV) and is meant to suggest a future strategy for study of vision in patients with disabling nystagmus and impaired vision.

CASE REPORT: A 49-year-old woman with primary progressive multiple sclerosis with spastic paraparesis and a history of optic atrophy presented with asymmetrical binocular APN and bothersome oscillopsia. We found that in the eye with greater APN her visual acuity improved by 1 line (from 0.063 to 0.08 decimals) immediately after blinking. During treatment with memantine, her VA without blinking increased by 2 lines, from 0.063 to 0.12, but improved even more (from 0.12 to 0.16) after blinking. In the contralateral eye with a barely visible nystagmus, VA was reduced by 1 line briefly (~500 ms) after blinking.

CONCLUSIONS: In a patient with APN, blinking transiently improved vision. The combination of pharmacological treatment with memantine and the blinking strategy may induce better VA and less oscillopsia than either alone.

Keywords: Attentional Blink, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive, Nystagmus, Pathologic, Optic Atrophy

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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923