Diplopia Equals Double Vision

double vision image

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What is Diplopia

Double vision, or diplopia, occurs when your brain perceives two images of one object. Double vision causes problems when reading and may result in dizziness from a perceived loss of balance.

Diplopia is the result of the following factors:

  • Lens problems such as cataracts
  • Muscle problems such as Grave’s diseases
  • Nerve problems such as multiple sclerosis
  • Brain problems such as migraine headaches

double vision graphicTemporary, Monocular or Binocular Diplopia

There are three types of double vision; temporary, monocular or binocular. Monocular diplopia involves one eye while binocular diplopia involves both eyes. Temporary diplopia can result from a head injury or excessive alcohol intake. Temporary double vision is also the result of eyestrain, such as working all day in front of a computer screen.

Monocular double vision is the result of impaired muscle function surrounding the eye area. This type of vision problem is usually not a cause of concern and may be the result of dry eye, astigmatism or cataracts. Eye drops help resolve chronic dry eye diplopia while contact lenses or surgery is often necessary to resolve the condition in people with astigmatism.

Diplopia may also be the warning sign of a more serious condition such as an aneurysm. Binocular double vision can result from cancer, diabetes, stroke or Myasthenia gravis. If pain or tiredness accompanies the diplopia, seek immediate medical attention.

example photo to illustrate double visionVisit an Eye Doctor for a Complete Eye Examination

Visit an eyecare professional, such as an ophthalmologist, if the condition lasts for more than a day or two. Your eye doctor can help resolve most causes of double vision while more serious cases require referral to a specialist such as a neurosurgeon or neurologist.

“When most ophthalmologists see a patient with a chief complaint of diplopia, they hate it,” said Michael S. Lee, MD, an associate professor of ophthalmology, neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “They often don’t know what to do with the patient.”

Additional testing may be required if the eye exam can’t determine the cause of your double vision. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan along with blood tests will give your eye doctor your complete medical history.

Comprehensive Vision Check at Stanton Optical

Visit Stanton Optical for a complete eye exam from a licensed Doctor of Optometry. Optometrists are located at or next to each of our retail stores throughout the United States. The eye doctor assesses your general eye health and discovers any vision problems you have by examining the internal and external structure of your eyes.