What is double vision?

While some instances of double vision can be cute, some can be anything but, and rather disturbing. Double vision (diplopia) is an unfortunate, and sometimes frightening condition, where you can distinctly see two images of a single object. This can occur either some, or all, of the time. Both images are sometimes one on top of the other, or can be side by side; sometimes there is a mixture.There are sometimes other symptoms which come with double vision which can be equally as distressing for the patient. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Weakness in the eyes
  • Droopy eyelids.

Occasionally, there may also be a ‘cross-eyed’ or ‘wandering’ eye appearance.

The cause of your double vision will depend on whether it is coming from one eye or both and therefore for any occurrences of double vision, (and especially when you have not experienced it before) you should always pay a visit to your eye doctor, who will be in a position to best advise you as to which will be the best treatment option available.

Double Vision Treatment

The most important thing to discover before treating double vision is to find out exactly what is causing the problem. Sometimes it is possible for double vision to be improved by correcting the cause or if not, managing it.

  • Sometimes weak eye muscles can be the cause of double vision and if this is the case for you, it can be treated with surgery.
  • A condition known as Myasthenia gravis can be responsible for the cause of this condition and this can be treated with specific medication.
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar in diabetic patients may also be a factor and this can be treated with proper control of sugar levels and/or insulin, (as prescribed by your medical practitioner).

Unfortunately there are sometimes cases when this distressing condition cannot be reversed. In this instance, there are still treatments which can help people to live with it, and these include the wearing of an eye patch, or there are special spectacles available which have a prism lens to help minimize the effects of double vision.

Double vision in one eye (Monocular Diplopia)

In general, most people find that they only get double vision when trying to view something with both eyes, and that when one eye is covered, the double vision seems to go away. However, double vision can also occur in only one eye, which is known as ‘monocular,’ and is more unusual.

If the double vision is only occurring in one eye, this may lead your eye doctor down a different path when trying to establish causes and treatment, as he may be looking for different conditions.

Sudden Double Vision

The first thing to do if you suddenly experience double vision is not to panic. This can be down to something fairly minor, for example, stress or simply fatigue. However, it can also be a sign of a more serious condition.

If you are concerned about double vision, you should always contact your eye doctor to seek professional advice.

 

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
America Academy of Ophthalmology: “Deciphering Diplopia”: www.aao.org/publications/eyenet/200911/feature.cfm
American Academy of Ophthalmology: “When Muscles Falter: Update on Myasthenia Gravis”: www.aao.org/publications/eyenet/200607/neuro.cfm
Review of Optometry: “The Diagnosis Behind Diplopia”: www.revoptom.com/content/d/patient_care/i/807/c/15063/
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