Spasmus nutans
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Spasmus nutans


Spasmus nutans is a disorder affecting infants. It involves rapid, uncontrolled eye movements, head bobbing, and occasionally, abnormal positioning of the neck.

See also: Nystagmus


Most cases of spasmus nutans begin between age 4 months and 1 year. It usually goes away by itself in several months to years.

The cause is unknown, although it may be associated with other medical conditions. (Rarely, symptoms similar to spasmus nutans may be due to certain types of brain tumors.)


  • Rapid side-to-side eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Head nodding
  • Head tilting

Exams and Tests

A neurologic examination confirms the presence of the symptoms.

Tests may include:

  • CT scan of the head
  • MRI scan of the head


The benign form of spasmus nutans requires no treatment. Other conditions causing spasmus nutans must be treated individually.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Usually, this disorder goes away on its own without treatment.

Possible Complications

There are usually no complications.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your child has rapid involuntary movements of the eyes or head nodding. The doctor will need to perform an exam to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.

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