Cohen smiling for the camera, wearing glasses and a white polo shirt with a black striped collar

Cohen’s Story


“Cohen was diagnosed with congenital nystagmus when he was around 6 months old. He is now almost 10 years old. Cohen’s cousin was diagnosed with nystagmus a year or so before him. This gave us much reassurance that Cohen will be ok. We’ve been so lucky. Cohen has had the same visual impairment teacher since nursery. She makes sure all the right settings are in place for him in school and helped him be entitled to extra help outside of school. I’m forever grateful for his VI teacher. He has a lovely group of friends in school and every school report is about him growing in confidence which is so nice to hear. He enjoys football, Xbox, swimming. He constantly makes us proud and never lets his visual impairment hold him back.”


Sue speaking at a Nystagmus Big Meet Up.

Sue’s 1984 Story

In 1984 I had never heard of nystagmus and had no connection with the condition at all. 

It was for me a very momentous year, though, because it was the year I met the man who was to become my husband. 

We were both studying Travel and Tourism and became firm friends, helping each other prepare for our British Airways fares and ticketing qualifications.

We married in 1987 and then in 1991 heard the word nystagmus for the very first time when our second child was born, our daughter.

Soon afterwards we were introduced to the Nystagmus Network and have stayed connected with the charity ever since. After serving as a volunteer Parent Adviser and Trustee I became a member of the staff team in 2015.

You can watch a short video here about the story of my daughter’s diagnosis, my very first encounter with the Nystagmus Network and what happened after that. 

Two young children in party clothes stand beside a frosted cake.

Onyeka’s 1984 Story

This is a photo of my elder brother (Tony) and me at my first birthday celebration in Nigeria. Report has it that he desperately tried to steal the show but I didn’t let him.🙂Can you spot my dad’s analogue radio? Growing up, I never heard the word nystagmus, although I had a few friends with albinism. I only became aware of nystagmus, in the early 2000s, while studying Optometry at the University of Benin.

A blue and green striped egg with the words Nystagmus Network and the number 1 on it in white.

Join our virtual Easter Egg Hunt

🐰🌷 Ready to hop into some Easter fun?

Join our virtual Easter Egg Hunt through our website to find hidden eggs🥚each with a letter on it to be discovered!

Collect all 9 letters and unscramble them to reveal a secret word!

Then email us at  [email protected] with the correct word to win egg-cellent prizes!

🏆 Let’s spread joy and support Nystagmus Network this Easter!

Get cracking and start your hunt NOW! 🐣

HINT – the eggs look like the one at the top of this post, but have letters on them instead of a number!


A group of researchers.

Perceptions of nystagmus and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals with nystagmus
and an exploration of public assumptions about the condition: an electronic questionnaire study

The study explored the self-reported impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those with nystagmus, and examined both public understanding of how nystagmus affects people who have it and the perceptions of public understanding by those with the condition and their carers.

In conclusion, the study highlights the lack of public awareness of nystagmus and suggests opportunities to increase awareness without the need for extensive knowledge of the condition. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed additional difficulties for those living with nystagmus, which is likely to be comparable among those with similar ocular disorders.

Jay Self, a member of the team behind the survey, says: “Perhaps the most important message is that people who even loosely know someone with nystagmus or even those who have heard of it, tend to have a much greater understanding of the problems faced by those with nystagmus meaning that perhaps very soft things (like Richard Osman talking about it on the radio, for example) could be done to improve public awareness and appreciation without the need for the whole populous to have been to a seminar on it.”

Sue Ricketts from the Nystagmus Network, also involved in the survey, says: “It just goes to show that raising awareness of nystagmus, such as by marking Nystagmus Awareness Day each year, really does have an impact on the lives of people living with this condition.”

Read the full research article online here

Thank you to those members of the nystagmus community who took part in the survey and shared it with their wider circles.

A young child sitting at a table drawing.

Nystagmus isn’t catching – tell your friends!

The little girl in the picture has nystagmus. She is enjoying some drawing at a Nystagmus Network event some years ago. At the time she had just started school and thought it would help children like her if people understood nystagmus better. One of the first things she wanted other children to know was that nystagmus isn’t catching. She was worried that people wouldn’t want to be her friend.

She started to write a diary about her experiences at home and at school. Each diary entry began in the same way: “When I was a baby a doctor told my mum I was blind. I wasn’t blind, of course, but I did have nystagmus. Now I’m seven and I’ve still got nystagmus. This is how I see the world through wobbly eyes …” The diary was published in the Nystagmus Network newsletter, Focus.

That diary became the basis for the Nystagmus Network booklet for young children, ‘Wobbly Eyes’. This digital publication explains nystagmus in child-friendly language and gives children the words to talk about it themselves. It remains our most frequently downloaded information document.

Extract from the original diary published in FOCUS in September 1999

Yesterday at school some of the children in my class had to have a medical. They called my name out, so I had to go. First they tested our eyesight. I thought that was a bit silly, because they know I’ve got nystagmus. I could only see the big ‘H’ because the nurse was holding the chart too far away.

She asked me if I wore glasses and I said no. I was about to explain about my nystagmus, but she wasn’t listening. She just went on to the next person.

They gave me a letter to take home to my mum. She was cross, because the letter told her she had to take me to the optician straight away. I heard mum talking on the phone to the school nurse later on. She was still cross. She told them that Mr Calver* tests my eyes and that the school nurse doesn’t need to. I don’t think the school nurse really understands about nystagmus. But Mr Calver does, because he’s very clever.

*David Calver was at the time Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital.

Download your copy of Wobbly Eyes here

The front cover of the Nystagmus Network booklet for children, Wobbly Eyes
The eye logo of the Nystagmus Network and the words Nystagmus Awareness Day 20 June

People’s perceptions of nystagmus and the impact of Covid-19

In November 2020, the Nystagmus Network shared news of a new research survey into people’s perceptions of nystagmus. The results have now been published.

The responses to the survey show that people with nystagmus tended to predict that the public would not think that the condition affects their daily lifestyle as much as it actually does.

It seems that members of the public had a greater understanding of challenges faced by individuals with nystagmus if they had met someone with nystagmus or if they had even heard of the condition.

This suggests that greater public awareness of the condition could be achieved through increased exposure of the condition through media and other online methods of promotion.

What this tells us, is that raising awareness of nystagmus is beneficial for everyone.

Future work
It is thought that further qualitative questionnaire studies regarding nystagmus could be carried out to identify specific issues that individuals with nystagmus have faced during lockdown and whether these are common to other disorders of vision.

Read the full summary of the survey results online here

A graphic of a woman guiding a sight impaired man down some stairs

New e-learning course enhances skills when assisting people with sight loss

A new e-learning course to develop knowledge, skills and confidence when assisting people with a visual impairment has been launched by award-winning social businessman and Nystagmus Network trustee, Dan Williams of Visualise Training and Consultancy.

Visual Impairment Awareness for All’ is ideal for anyone who regularly interacts with people living with visual impairment as it focuses on the practical and emotional effects and provides solutions to everyday challenges.

It covers identifying sight loss, eye conditions and their effects, emotional impacts, accessibility, assistive technologies, communication, mobility and sighted guiding techniques.

Having lived with a visual impairment from childhood, Dan fully appreciates the challenges and thanks to his lived and professional experiences, he understands what assistance is needed and has designed the courses accordingly.

He says, “There are so many aspects to living with a visual impairment, so I wanted to develop a course that will raise awareness and provide the knowledge and skills needed by everyone who regularly engages with people who have a visual impairment.

For example, there is often a fear of offending someone by offering assistance and not knowing how to guide, so we provide the skills and confidence needed to overcome this.”

The course is ideal for family members and friends and can be used as an induction or refresher course for businesses and organisations as part of their CPD portfolio.

The cost is £30 per learner and it can be completed online from any location.

Click here to find out more and enrol

For enquiries, please email [email protected]

A thank you card from the Nystagmus Network showing an image of 2 boys taking part in a team building exercise.

BBC charity appeal raises £8,000

Following transmission of the Nystagmus Network’s Radio 4 appeal, presented by Richard Osman, the charity has received universally positive feedback on the clarity of the broadcast’s message. One listener, in his 70s, said he had learned more about nystagmus in those 3 minutes than throughout the rest of his life. We have been contacted by several individuals saying that they were totally unaware of the condition previously or that Richard himself lived with nystagmus. We have also enjoyed unprecedented social media engagement. With transmission following closely after Nystagmus Awareness Day on 20 June, the appeal raised awareness of the condition to new heights.

In 2020, when most fundraising has ceased and people with nystagmus have been struggling with homeschooling, social distancing, shopping, lack of hospital appointments and isolation, the appeal has been a lifeline to the charity and the nystagmus community in terms of generating donations.

The total raised has reached almost £8,000 to help the charity extend and develop its support and information services. This means that, as eye clinics and high street opticians begin to reopen, patients and their families will have access to information about nystagmus. Clinic staff will be aware of their needs, thanks to training the charity is now able to provide. In September, when children return to school, parents and school staff will enjoy the benefit of accurate, up to date information about education support to ensure that all young people with nystagmus attain their academic potential.

We are indebted to our wonderful presenter, Richard, for kindly agreeing to voice our appeal and share his own reflections on living with nystagmus. We often tell young children that, with the right support, they can achieve anything, despite their disability. They can even become a famous TV presenter if they work very, very hard. Thank you, Richard, for the inspiration and thank you to everyone who responded to the appeal.