Living With Double Vision

Living With Double Vision 1

What Is Diplopia (Double Vision) And How It’s Like Living With Double Vision?

When you experience diplopia, you see two images of the same thing at the same time. You might also refer to it as double vision.

Double vision may occur in just one eye or in both. Generally, when it occurs in both eyes, the condition is more severe than when it occurs in just one eye.

Types and Causes of Diplopia

The parts of your eye and how they function together play an important role in understanding how diplopia can occur.

Monocular diplopia occurs when you experience double vision in only one eye. It may be caused by:

The Cornea is the clear window into your eye. It is primarily responsible for focusing light, so if you experience double vision when you cover one eye and not when you cover the other eye, you may have corneal damage in the eye that is experiencing double vision.

It is possible that the cornea in that eye is uneven. Glasses may be able to correct the problem. Damage may result from the following sources:

  • The condition known as keratoconus occurs when the cornea becomes cone-shaped

  • Infections, like shingles or herpes

  • Scars

  • Dryness

A Lens is located behind your pupil, where light is focused onto your retina at the back of your eye.

As the most common lens problem, cataracts are usually corrected with surgery. Cataracts tend to affect one eye more than the other, and they may grow at different rates between the two eyes as well.

The phenomenon of double vision when both eyes are open is known as binocular diplopia.

Eye Muscles are important for alignment of the eyes and control eye movement. If a muscle in one eye is weakened, it cannot move in sync with the other eye. When you look in a direction controlled by the weak muscle, you will see double.

  • There is a problem with the nerves that control them

  • Symptoms of myasthenia gravis include drooping eyelids and double vision as well as neuromuscular blockage.

  • The condition Graves’ disease affects the eye muscles and can cause vertical diplopia, which occurs when one image is layered over another.

It is the Nerves that carry information from your brain to your eyes. It is possible for them to malfunction, leading to double vision.

  • There is a possibility that multiple sclerosis may damage nerves in your brain and spinal cord. If it affects the nerves that control your eyes, you may experience double vision.

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes growing weakness. Sometimes, the earliest symptoms are in the eyes, including double vision.

  • Having diabetes can result in nerve damage in the muscles that move your eyes, which can result in double vision.

Brain. Many causes of double vision begin in the brain, where images are processed. These include:

  • Strokes

  • Aneurysms

  • Increased pressure from injury, bleeding, or infection

  • Tumors

  • Migraine headaches

Symptoms of Diplopia

You may also notice the following if you have double vision:

  • The eyes do not line up (a “wandering eye” or a “cross-eyed” appearance)

  • Moving your eye causes pain

  • You may experience pain around your eyes, such as in your temples or eyebrows

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • You may experience weakness in your eyes or elsewhere

  • Droopy eyelids

Diagnosis of Diplopia

There can be serious consequences associated with double vision when it is new or does not appear to have a clear cause.

It is likely that your doctor will use more than one type of test to determine the cause of your diplopia. They may conduct blood tests, perform a physical exam, or perform an imaging test such as a CT scan and an MRI.

Make sure your doctor is aware of all your symptoms. Prior to your appointment, consider the following questions:

  • How long has the double vision been present?

  • Did you hit your head, fall, or pass out?

  • Did you experience a car accident?

  • Does the double vision worsen at the end of the day or when you are tired?

  • In addition to double vision, have you experienced any other symptoms?

  • You might not be aware that you are inclined to tilt your head to one side. Look at old photos or ask members of your family if they notice.

  • When both eyes are open, does the double vision occur?

Focus on something stationary, such as a window or a tree, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the two images appear to be side by side, or is one positioned on top of the other? Are they slanted in any way? Which image appears to be higher?

  • Both images appear to be clear, but not in line? Or, does one image appear to be blurry, while the other appears to be clear?

  • Try covering one eye and then switching to the other. Does the problem disappear when either eye is covered?

  • Think of your field of vision as a clock face. Move your eyes around the clock from noon to 6 and around to 12 again. Have you noticed any significant differences in your vision at any of these positions?

  • Do you notice any improvement in your eyesight when you tilt your head to the right or left?

Treatment of Diplopia

Identifying and treating the cause is the most important step.

  • Surgical intervention may be necessary if weak eye muscles or a pinched muscle are responsible for the problem.

  • It is possible to treat myasthenia gravis with medications.

  • Graves’ disease can be treated through surgery or medicine.

  • Medications and insulin can help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.

Prevention of Diplopia

The presence of cataracts or some other causes of diplopia cannot be prevented. In order to avoid injuries that can result in double vision, you should wear your seat belt when driving and wear protective eye gear when participating in sports or doing activities that may cause your eyes to be injured. To reduce the risk of nerve damage, keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes.

Outlook for Diplopia

A majority of cases of diplopia can be treated through medication and surgery, which may include cataract surgery. Occasionally, diplopia will subside on its own. The results of your treatment will be determined by the cause of your double vision.

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