Double vision, also known as diplopia, usually stems from an underlying condition. Identifying this condition and treating the cause can help people recover their eyesight. Treatment can also prevent other symptoms from occurring.
Double vision is when a person sees two images of the same thing. These images may appear adjacent to each other either vertically, horizontally, or obliquely. They may also overlap each other. You may have double vision in one or both eyes. Generally, diplopia in both eyes is significantly more serious than in one eye.
If you have diplopia, you may notice some of the following symptoms:
Pain when you shift your affected eye.
A crossed-eyed or wandering eye look.
Pain around your eyes, such as in your eyebrows or temples.
Weakness in your eyes.
Diplopia that does not have a clear cause or new can be dangerous. Your eye doctor will probably use several different tests to determine the cause of your double vision. Some of these tests include a blood test, MRI, CT scan, and physical exam. It is important to tell your eye doctor about all your symptoms.
The two types of diplopia are binocular diplopia and monocular diplopia. You can determine the type of double vision you have with a simple test. While you are experiencing double vision, cover one eye with your hand. If the diplopia disappears when you cover either eye, then you have binocular diplopia.
With this type of double vision, the problem goes away when you cover the affected eye. The double vision returns when you cover the unaffected eye. Monocular diplopia stems from a problem with one eye. It may result from a problem with the affected eye’s nerves or within your brain.
This type of double vision is less common than binocular diplopia and results from a problem with one eye. Most people with this condition report that one of the images appears blurry, while the other one is very clear. Some of the possible causes of monocular diplopia include dry eye syndrome, severe astigmatism, pterygium, cataracts, and changes in the shape of the cornea.
This type of double vision disappears when you cover one eye. This condition occurs because the two eyes are not working well together. People with binocular diplopia usually report that both of the images they see appear equally clear. Possible causes include Graves’ disease, nerve damage, myasthenia gravis, cranial nerve palsy, diabetes, and crossed eyes.
Each possible cause of diplopia has potential complications. Causes can range from an easily correctable problem to a more complicated one such as a chronic disease. Due to your altered field of vision, you may experience vertigo or nausea. You may also experience sensitivity to light and eye strain.
In rare cases, some life-threatening health conditions can cause double vision. Examples of such conditions include brain tumors and infections. In such cases, people experience symptoms such as severe headaches or eye pain and visual changes. Such symptoms require immediate medical attention.
To learn more about double vision, visit Bernstein Center for Visual Performance at our office in White Plains, New York. You can call (914) 682-8886 today to schedule an appointment.