Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Myotonic dystrophy type 1

Other Names for this Disease
  • DM1
  • Dystrophia myotonica type 1
  • Steinert disease
  • Steinert myotonic dystrophy
  • Steinert's disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

My son is a young adult and has myotonic dystrophy type 1. He has early cataracts and many other symptoms.  He wears glasses and appears recently to have a wandering eye. He also has double vision and fatigue.  Is this caused by the myotonic dystrophy? What treatment is recommended?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How does myotonic dystrophy type 1 affect vision?

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is associated with an increased risk for a variety of vision and eye problems, including:[1][2][3]

Last updated: 6/14/2013

How might myotonic dystrophy type 1 associated vision problems be treated?

Treatment of eye and vision problems must be individually tailored. Refractive error and astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Special glasses with eye "crutches" can be used to improve vision in people with ptosis. Surgery can be done to treat ptosis and cataracts, however ptosis often recurs and special precautions must be taken with anesthesia.[1] If severe, strabismus may also be treated with surgery.[1]
Last updated: 6/14/2013

Does myotonic dystrophy cause fatigue?

Yes. Sleepiness and fatigue are common features of myotonic dystrophy type 1. Medications to reduce fatigue are available. We recommend that you dicuss your treatment options with a healthcare provider.[1]

In addition, heart block is a common and potentially dangerous complication of myotonic dystrophy type 1, that can cause light headedness, dizzy spells, near fainting, and fainting. These symptoms should be reported to your doctor right away.[1]
Last updated: 6/14/2013