Double vision (diplopia) causes


Double vision or diplopia is a symptoms that should be taken seriously. Some causes of double vision are relatively minor while others need urgent medical attention. Let us now check out the symptoms, causes and treatments of double vision.

Symptoms of double vision

The main symptom of double vision or diplopia is seeing two of a singular object. Often this condition is confused with blurry vision but in blurred vision a single object is unclear and in double vision there appears two of the same object. For some people, double vision can be temporary which comes and go but for others it can be a daily occurrence.

What causes double vision?

Depending on the type of double vision you have, there are variety of causes for double vision.

Binocular double vision causes

  • Arterial disease
  • Myasthenia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Blood clot
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Injury
  • Cancer

Monocular double vision causes

  • Abnormality in the aquenous humor
  • Abnormality in the cornea
  • Abnormality in the lens of the eye
  • Abnormality in the iris
  • Abnormality in the vitrous humor

Physiological double vision causes

  • Cataracts
  • Astigmatism
  • Swelling in the eyelid
  • Dry eye
  • Dislocated lens

Double vision can be temporary and the common causes include concussion, hypnotic drug side effect, alcohol consumption, anti-epileptic drug side effect, tiredness, anticonvulsant.


The first stem of diagnosis involves determining whether the double vision is monocular or binocular. Your doctor will ask you to cover one eye and then the other. If you have monocular diplopia, your doctor will evaluate for the conditions such as cataracts which could be causing the problem and you will need to see an ophthalmologist. If the problem is binocular and there has been no facial trauma then your doctor will want to know whether you have Graves disease, diabetes or neurological disorders.

While diagnosing binocular diplopia, your doctor will determine which eye muscles are affected. Your doctor will ask to look at the finger which he moves it up and down, left and right. This will let the doctor see how far youe eye can move in each direction. Your doctor will cover one eye and then the other while you focus on the target and if the doctor sees your eyes shift as the eye cover is moved, then your eyes are not aligned properly.

Prisms may be placed over your eye to shift the image and test will be repeated. This will allow the doctor to measure the amount or degress of your double vision when you look in different directions. It will help diagnose the problem and monitor the problem over time. Your doctor will use the results of this exam and together with your medical history and additional symptoms for determining if you need more tests.

If your doctor suspects you have hyperthyroidism then you will need blood tests for measuring the thyroid hormone levels. If your doctor suspects something is affecting the nerves to your eye muscles, then you need a MRI or a CT scan of your head to check the signs of trauma, tumor, bleeding or blood vessel malformations in the brain.

Double vision treatment

The type of double vision treatment you have could be binocular or monocular and the mode of treatments will be determined accordingly.

Common treatment options for binocular double vision are:

  • Having a contact lens in one eye which blocks vision
  • Eye muscle surgery
  • Wearing an eye patch
  • Wearing glasses with filters
  • Receiving Botox injections to strengthen weak eye muscles
  • Opaque intraocular lens- removing the lens and replacing it with an implant
  • Eye exercises

Common treatment options for the monocular double vision are:

  • Laser eye surgery
  • Treating an astigmatism with corrective lenses
  • Treating dry eye syndrome using tear substitutes
  • Removing cataracts

Although, double vision is not life threatening, it can be a nuisance and impede on daily life. Understanding the underlining cause is a good start to determine best treatment options for double vision. Get regular eye exams as it could spot the changes in vision immediately before the complications arise.



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