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Double vision could be the early sign for various health-related conditions for both eyes and for the body. And if you want to know more about, then read the entire post.

In this article, we are going to discuss the double vision, its types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

What is Double Vision?

What is Double Vision?

The word double vision has its own meaning— seeing two images of an object instead of one. Medically, this term could be called to be diplopia where the object might seem to be displaced horizontally, vertically, diagonally, etc.

Therefore, in this situation, the person sees a dual image of a single object. Therefore, the two pictures can be on top of each other, or on both sides.

Furthermore, this condition can affect the balance, speed, and reading ability of a person. This condition could occur in one eye, or in both eyes.

Quick Facts About Double Vision

Here are some important facts related to double vision defects:

  • Dual vision defects or “diplopia” can develop as a result of many underlying conditions.
  • Dual vision defects can affect one or both eyes.
  • Squint, or curvature of the eye, occurs again and again in childhood, causing double vision defects.
  • Drinking or consuming drugs can also lead to double vision defects for some time.
  • Some common treatment includes operation, eye exercises, and corrective lenses.

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Types of Double Vision

Types of Double Vision

In general, there are two types of double vision which are categorized based on its effects. These are:

Monocular Diplopia

Problem with one of the eyes, which creates a dual-vision scenario. In this case, one eye projects a clear image while the other eye fails to develop a clear image and generally project a faded image. This continues even when the other eye is covered or looking in a different direction.

Binocular Diplopia

A condition or problem that affects the cranial nerves supplying muscles that control the eyes can cause binocular diplopia. In short, it is due to the misalignment of the eye muscles.

Signs and Symptoms of Double Vision

The symptoms of double vision are mainly stable but sometimes also variable. Though it depends on the causes. But in all people experience blurred vision and dizziness.

Double vision may be monocular or binocular which may give rise to other symptoms, such as pain while rolling, cross-eye appearance, hanging eyelids, or pain and weakness around the eyes.

Causes of Double Vision (Diplopia)

Causes of Double Vision (Diplopia)

As stated earlier, the causes of double vision depending on its types. 

Causes of Monocular Diplopia

The following are the causes of monocular diplopia.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common defect in the curvature of the eye. In this condition, the front surface of the cornea or the lens inside the eye folds differently from one direction to another.  And this would become the cause of blurred vision and double vision.

Keratoconus

In keratoconus- the shape of the cornea changes. A condition in which the dome-shaped tissues that cover the cornea gradually become thin and bulge into a cone shape.

Because of this, it causes double vision, blurred vision, and light sensitivity.  Moreover, scars or inflammation of the cornea can also cause vision changes.

Pterygium

It is also known as Eye Web. In this, the growth of muscles or mucous membrane is seen in the white part of the eye, usually above the cornea.

Typically, this subliminal growth begins on the clear tissue of the eye that can extend to the cornea. However, it is more common in people who spend a lot of time in the sun, such as people working outdoors.

Cataracts

A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. In this eye condition, the lens gradually becomes less transparent.

It is commonly seen in older people or individuals who smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes, trauma, and are the victims of radiation therapy.

Dry Eye

A condition in which the eye does not produce sufficient lubricating fluid. This can cause stinging, itching, and vision problems.

Dislocated Lens

The lens that moves out of place or wiggles because the supporting ligaments that hold the lens get damaged. However, a hereditary disorder known as Marfan’s syndrome develops disordered lenses.

Other factors

  • Mass or swelling in the eyelid
  • Some retinal problems

Causes of Binocular Diplopia

Conversely, binocular diplopia includes all the causes that are due to dysfunction of the delicate nerves of the eyes. And these are the nerves drive information between the eyes and the brain. So, any inflammation or injury to these nerves can cause double vision.

The following are the common causes of binocular diplopia:

Strabismus

It is a disorder in which a person is unable to look in the same direction by both eyes at the same time. However, causes of strabismus can include nerve injury or dysfunction of the muscles that control the eye.

Diabetes

In general, diabetic patients are more likely to have double vision disorders. This is because abnormal blood sugar levels could disrupt the normal function of blood vessels of the eye muscles.

Myasthenia Gravis

It is a weakness and rapid fatigue of muscles that are under voluntary control. The condition is caused by a breakdown in communication between nerves and muscles. This can also cause weakness in the arm and leg muscles, double vision, and difficulty in speaking and chewing.

Graves’ Disease

Due to thyroid dysfunction, the thyroid gland in the throat produces hyperactive thyroid hormone. This condition affects the external muscles that control the eye. However, patients with Graves’ disease may have vision problems due to swelling and thickening in the muscles behind the eye.

Trauma to the Eye Muscles

When the muscles of the eye held by some trauma that can cause eyelids, and muscles or especially, the thin bones that surround the eye. However, this may cause swollen eyelids.

Black Eye

Typically, injury around the eye may cause blood and fluid collection. In general, it creates pressure on the muscles and the nerves that surround the eye. 

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is similar to a stroke, where the blood fails to reach the brain due to an obstruction in the blood vessels.

It usually lasts for only a few minutes but this affects the nerves that control the eye muscles which could cause double vision.

Other Factors

Other factors that trigger double vision are:

Physical damage to the brain, nerves, muscles around the eye that restrict the movement of the eye and its muscles.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system or damages the communication between the brain and the body. It also includes the nerves in the eyes and causes vision loss. 

Convergence insufficiency is a condition in which the eyes aren’t able to work together properly because the muscles that control the eye are not lining up correctly. Hence, the eye turns outward which causes double vision and blurred vision. 

Aneurysm: It is a condition of ballooning and weakened area in an artery. However, a ruptured aneurysm can result in internal bleeding and stroke. As a result, this may create a press on the nerve of the eye muscle.

Diagnosis for Double Vision

Diagnosis for Double Vision

Due to several possible causes for the occurrence of double vision. That’s why it is challenging for an eye specialist to diagnose diplopia. 

However, doctors usually diagnose this problem by checking the medical history including symptoms. The doctor might also ask questions-related to double vision images with or without one eye closed to diagnoses the diplopia.

Through eye examination, the doctors can determine whether the double vision is binocular or monocular. During the examination, the doctor evaluates how looking in different directions, affects the double vision.

With MRI Scans, doctors usually get a better view of the brain, eye socket, and spinal cord. However, the result helps the doctor to know the certain causes of double vision, such as a tumor, inflammation along a nerve, or an aneurysm.

Sometimes the doctor suspects the cause of double vision due to certain medications of diseases such as Graves’ or Lyme disease. So, in this case, by performing a blood test the doctor gets details about the actual cause. 

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Treatment for Double Vision

Treatment for Double Vision

Double vision requires immediate medical care. However, treatments depend on the cause and type. But, treatment usually includes eye exercises, specially designed eyeglasses, and surgery.

These are the following treatment that is useful for double vision types:

Contact lenses: a lens placed directly on the eye to correct or assist the vision.

Glasses: a frame worn on the nose that holds a set of lenses to correct vision or protect eyes. 

Laser surgery that reshapes and removes the tissue from the front of the eye to correct vision. 

Artificial tears moisten the eye to provide soothing relief or reducing tear drainage.

Sunglasses protect the eye from sunlight that causes worsen eye condition.

Cataract surgery: surgical removal of the clouded lens of the eye. Typically, replaced with an artificial lens to improve vision.

Pars plana vitrectomy and primary scleral-fixated IOL implantation give quick and good visual rehabilitation in adult patients with Marfan’s syndrome. 

Bifocals: eyeglasses with a lens that enables both near and far vision.

Eyepatch: a covering to protect the eye from injury.

In case you have the following symptoms after treatment, if they appear, rush immediately to the doctor:

  • Experience double vision, even if it has gone away
  • Have weakness, trouble communicating or a headache
  • Feel eye pain
  • Develop bulging eyes
  • Recently injured your eye or head

General FAQ

The following are some questions that people usually search on Google.

Can ignoring diplopia be dangerous?

Ans. Yes, ignoring diplopia can be dangerous because it raises the pressure in the brain or the muscles, and the nerves surround the eye.  

When should an adult’s eyes be examined?

Ans. Generally, an adult’s eyes should be examined on a regular basis. And If possible, one should examine their eyes after three-five years. While the seniors should be examined every one-two years.

Are sunglasses good for eyes?

Ans. Sunglasses are beneficial for eyes because it reduces the light intensity that reaches the eye. However, wearing UV protective lenses may protect against cataract formation. 

What are the symptoms of diplopia?

Ans. Some common symptoms may be present such as discomfort or pain around the eyes, extreme fatigue, or having an incorrect eyeglass prescription, etc.

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