Wobbly Wednesday at Essex County Hospital

30 October 2013

An awareness event is being held at a Colchester hospital next week (6 Nov) to increases awareness of the eye condition nystagmus.

"Wobbly Wednesday" is the name being given to the first International Nystagmus Awareness Day on Wednesday.

Nystagmus, where the eyes move involuntarily, affects about 1 in 1,000 people and is the most common form of visual impairment among school age children.

In the UK, some people with nystagmus cannot see well enough to drive and it affects their vision in a way that they need more time to see.

On Wednesday, Kerry Pleasant from the UK charity Nystagmus Network will be available in the outpatient area of Essex County Hospital from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Her son Oliver also has the condition.

Paula Bradshaw, Head Orthoptist & Orthoptic Services Manager at Essex County Hospital, said she wanted greater public awareness of nystagmus.

'We see quite a number of patients with nystagmus in the Orthoptic Department of all ages, ranging from babies that are born with nystagmus (congenital nystagmus) to adults that have symptoms of oscillopsia (where objects appear to be moving) due to recently acquired nystagmus," she said.

"It is fabulous that Kerry will be visiting us to provide information and advice.

"It will be very useful for anyone who has nystagmus but also for parents, teachers and for the general public to learn and understand more about what it is like to live with nystagmus and how we can all help in making it a little easier.'

Teachers of visually impaired children commonly work with youngsters with nystagmus to provide help in the home and the school environment. They ensure the child has the appropriate visual aids or simply give advice to enable the child to see to their best ability, eg good lighting or high contrast colours used on the white board.

Nystagmus Network was set up in 1984 and was the first support groups in the world for people with the condition. One of its patrons is flautist Sir James Galway.

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