Double vision occurs when a person sees a double image where there should only be one. The two images can be side by side, on top of one another, or both.
Fast facts on double vision
- Here are some key points about double vision. More detail is in the main article.
- Double vision, or diplopia, can result from a range of underlying conditions.
- Diplopia can affect just one eye or both.
- A childhood squint, or eye turn, can sometimes recur and cause double vision.
- Temporary double vision can be caused by alcohol or other recreational drugs.
- Treatments can include surgery, eye exercises, or corrective lenses.
Nerve or muscle damage in the eye might cause double vision.
Each eye creates its own image of the environment. The brain combines the representations from each eye and perceives them as one clear picture.
Damage to the muscles that move the eyes or the nerves that control eye movement can create a double image.
The eyes must work together to create depth of field.
Certain illnesses can weaken the muscles moving the eyes and produce double vision.
Causes of binocular double vision:-
A common cause of binocular double vision is a squint or strabismus.
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- Convergence insufficiency
- Myasthenia gravis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Black eye
- Head injury
Causes of monocular double vision:-
- Dry eye
- Retinal abnormalities
Temporary double vision:-
Double vision can sometimes be temporary. Alcohol intoxication, benzodiazepines, opioids, or certain medications for seizures and epilepsy sometimes cause this. Head injuries, such as concussions, can also cause temporary double vision.
Diagnosing double vision can be challenging for an eye specialist because there are so many possible causes.The specialist will start by asking whether the double vision is monocular or binocular.
If the double vision is monocular, it means that the problem is more likely to be within the eye, rather than in the nerves. It is likely to be less serious.
Diagnosis in children
Children cannot always express what they see, and this can make diagnosis difficult.
Physical signs of double vision include:
- squinting or narrowing the eyes to see
- covering one eye with their hand
- turning their head in an unusual way
- looking at objects from the side rather than facing forward
- flicking eyes side to side, between images
This will depend on the underlying cause.
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Dr. Anand Kumar
Utsav Eye Clinic