Dominant Ataxia

I have heraditery ataxia ( on my fathers side). My question is People with dominant ataxia, do they usually find that their dominant side is more effected by the ataxia? I myself was born left handed. Because of that, my left side of my body seems to be more effected than my right. When my symptoms flare up, it starts on my left side first. …Linda

Good question. Personally, I was born right handed and find my left side above the waist is the strongest and the right side below the waist! Very confusing, ataxia doesn't seem to follow any rules - except it doesn't get better! (I inherited it from my father too, thanks dad, I'd of preferred your car!).


That’s a good question. I inherited it from my dad, and I’m right handed. I can’t really tell a side is worse than the other.

I am right handed but it seems to effect my left side the worst. I always have to switch to my right hand when I start having problems. Terry

I was once told I had Left Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, eye problems associated
with Cerebellar Ataxia greatly affected my left eye. My mother had similar
problems but I can’t remember which eye was affected. xB

This is interesting. I too am right handed and my left side is affected more than the right side. But both eyes have nystagmus. Also inherited this from my father.

What is nystagmus? What’s it feel like? I don’t have that, but does it make it where you can’t focus?

Dominant inheritance has nothing to do with dominant side. The word dominant as part of the name of the ataxia refers to the way a particular part of the DNA gets passed on to the next generation. Dominant side refers to the part of the brain that took over the management of your body. One is multi-generational and the other is restricted to you only.


focusing is dependent on many different things. Nystagmus is a way your eyes follow a moving subject. If you watch a bird fly by and your eye or eyes cannot follow it in one smooth movement but instead skip as you follow, in little or large stages then you have nystagmus. If you have it from birth then, usually, your brain learns to adjust to it and it seems smooth, but if you get it as an adult it can be quite confusing. Also, most of the time you get it in one eye only, which can cause weird impressions on your brain.

Iwentdownunder said:

What is nystagmus? What's it feel like? I don't have that, but does it make it where you can't focus?

Dear Linda, I have Sporadic Cerebellar Ataxia (unknown cause). I've had genetic testing for the known recessive types of ataxia, which was negative. I've not been genetically tested for the known dominant types of ataxia, as no one in my family, as far back as we know, has/had ataxia, except me. Also, my neurologist thinks the percentage that I'd show positive is extremely slim. My juries still out on whether I'll be eventually tested. Anyway, I'm right handed and although my ataxia effects both sides of my body 24/7, it's a bit worse on the left side. My theory is my cerebellum is a bit more atrophied on the left side, although I have no idea if that's accurate. Guess that would be a good question to ask my neuro at my next appointment..., ;o)

I have nystgamus in both eyes.
As Norbert explained, it’s little sporadic movements of the eye (or eyes) which makes it really hard to focus. Your eyes can’t keep up with everything that is around you.
Although I haven’t been officially classified as legally blind yet (haven’t pursued it yet) according to the info I’ve read I have all the qualifications.
My eyes don’t focus properly at all for distance and they are really slow to focus on things nearby. I can’t walk and look around at the same time, I have a really hard time in stores because there is too much stimulation to my eyes. If I want to see something, I have to stop stay still, and wait until my eyes catch up (stop or slow the sporadic movements).
The big outdoors is a little easier because of the expanse - not so much going on all at once.
As with almost all Ataxia symptoms, if I’m tired it is much worse.
Also, most people with this have what is called a “sweet spot” which means that we have one head or eye placement where we can see almost clearly. For me it is at the bottom - hard to explain but if I lift my head and look out of the bottom of my eyes, my vision is clearest.

Hi Linda

I also inherited it from dad, still love him though.. i was born right handed but it seems since this shitty ataxia has got hold of me that my right side is worst than me left side.. its like ive had a stroke.. my right side doesn't want to be controlled as well as my left side not that both sides want anything to do with me now..


Another way of describing Nystagmus is bouncing eyes.
There are different types of Nystagmus, some are mild,
and after diagnosis you can still drive.