A French supporter of the Nystagmus Network has tracked down the earliest known publications about nystagmus. The two books -- one in German and the other in French – were published in 1857 and 1869 respectively and are available to read online.
The German book entitled “Der Nystagmus und dessen Heilung" (Nystagmus and its treatment) by Dr Ludwig Boehm is available at http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb10390716_00005.html. The 170 page long book discusses the use of muscle exercises, surgery and glasses to treat nystagmus. It concludes with a number of case studies
The French book, “Etude sur le Nystagmus” (A study of nystagmus) was published 12 years later in 1869 by Dr A-E Gadaud in France. Gadaud writes that nystagmus is among the least studied eye diseases – something that has changed little in 150 years.
In his book (see http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5470106q), Gadaud notes that some disagree with Boehm’s view that nystagmus was simply a problem of the eyes. We now know that nystagmus is much more complicated than that – as many of his contemporaries already suspected in the mid 19th century. Gadaud’s book also casts doubt on Boehm’s claims to have cured several cases of nystagmus.
More than 150 years later many unanswered questions remain about nystagmus. For a more up-to-date scientific and medical book on the condition see the “The Challenge of Nystagmus” available at http://www.nystagmusnet.org/cms/index.php/shop-home/books and on Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Challenge-Nystagmus-Proceedings-September/dp/0955894026/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407941438&sr=8-1&keywords=challenge+of+nystagmus.