Nystagmus also affects how long it takes us to see things. Put simply we need more time to see things than people with normal vision. In other words, we see slowly. As in the example above of passing someone we know in the street, we will only recognise them when we are quite close, in our null zone (if we have one) and after spending a second or two studying (or staring at) them.
It doesn't take much imagination to realise that being "slow to see" has social as well as practical disadvantages. A common problem many of us with nystagmus face is being accused of being rude: either because we appear to ignore friends and acquaintances or because we appear sometimes to stare at strangers. The harsh reality is that we cannot recognise people we know at what is the accepted distance for people with ordinary vision.
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