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What Causes Double Vision? Is It a Red Flag to be Concerned About?

Blurry image of a person’s hand, representing the effect of double vision

If you have suddenly noticed that you started seeing two images of a single object, chances are that you might be suffering from double vision. Also referred to as diplopia, double vision is a type of eye condition that can affect one or both eyes and may signal something minor or more serious. If you are in fact suffering from double vision, the gravity of your condition will depend on several factors, as sometimes double vision can be a simply corrected, but it can also reflect a serious neurological problem.

What Are the Symptoms of Double Vision?

Understandably, a lot of people get scared with the most noticeable symptom of double vision, which is seeing two of the same images. There is no pattern for how this happens, as you might experience two overlapped images vertically, horizontally or even diagonally. The problem is that apart from being disconcerting, double vision can also result in people experiencing other discomforting symptoms like nausea, headaches, weakness in the eyes, droopy eyelids or even give them a cross-eyed appearance.


What Causes Double Vision?

 Many eye-related conditions, including diplopia, can have numerous different causes, making it important to find out how the problem started so that it can be treated appropriately.  It is comforting to know that not all cases of double vision mean something serious necessarily. For instance, if you have the impression that your eyes are not perfectly aligned, you might have a form of strabismus, which can lead you to experience double vision full time or intermittently.


Sometimes double vision is experienced through a short period of time, and in that case, it can be associated with less threatening issues such as fatigue, stress and standing up too quickly. That does not mean, however, that it should be ignored. It is known that major infections, traumas and low blood sugar can also cause short-term double vision.


When it comes to sudden onset double vision, there is indeed a chance that more serious conditions are behind the problem. When associated with both eyes (only happens with both eyes open), also called binocular diplopia, double vision can be caused by serious neurological conditions such as:


  • Head or brain injury

  • Brain tumour

  • Aneurysm

  • Stroke

  • Myasthenia gravis

  • Multiple sclerosis


Monocular diplopia, however, is when double vision affects one of the eyes only. Even though in most cases people notice they are suffering from double vision when they are trying to see something with both eyes, sometimes only one of the eyes is affected. This can be related to more specific issues, such as refractive error, which is a change in the shape of the eye, or the early stages of cataracts.


What Is the Treatment for Double Vision?

If you are suffering from double vision, the correct treatment will depend on the issues associated with it or what might be causing you to have double vision. For instance, you might be experiencing double vision due to strabismus, in which case the treatment may consist of eye exercises or even surgical straightening of the eye. If cataracts are what is causing you to have double vision, undergoing cataract surgery will most likely solve the problem. If your double vision is temporary, a Fresnel prism can be placed onto your glasses to correct the position of one of the images, making it easier for you to see a single image, instead of two.


However, as mentioned before in this blog post, double vision can also be the cause of more serious conditions that might require a more complex treatment. It is important to diagnose the reason for double vision so that appropriate ocular or medical testing and/or treatment can be initiated.  For that reason, it is important to see your optometrist so that any problem can be tackled as soon as possible.


Double Vision Exams, Diagnosis and Treatment with Optometrists' Clinic Inc

Do you think you might be suffering from double vision? Not sure about why it is happening or even how to treat it? At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc we provide a wide range of eye exams to make sure we can find the right diagnosis and treatment for your eye-related issue. If you live in Edmonton, Leduc or Westlock and you are suffering from double vision or other eye-related conditions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We here to help you see the world crystal clear, making sure your issues are tackled efficiently and accurately.



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