Diplopia is a condition when you see two images of the same object. This condition is commonly called double vision . Usually, this vision problem is the result of the underlying condition. Identifying and treating the cause can help you restore your vision and stop other symptoms from occurring.
There are two types of diplopia: monocular diplopia and binocular diplopia. You can find out what type of diplopia you have with a simple test. In binocular diplopia, when double vision occurs, close one left eye, double vision still exists, and when closing one right eye, double vision is still present. In monocular diplopia, close your left / right eye, if double vision disappears when you close only 1 eye, you have monocular diplopia.
Monocular diplopia is the result of problems with one of your eyes. Problems in the brain or nerves in your eyes may be a cause of binocular diplopia. Once your doctor identifies your type of double vision, they can begin to look for the cause.
Causes of monocular diplopia
Monocular double vision occurs due to one eye problem and is rare compared to binocular diplopia. Many people with monocular diplopia report that sometimes seeing things will be very clear, while other images will fade or faint.
- Heavy (cylindrical) astigmatism
- Changes in the shape of the cornea (keratoconus)
- Dry eyes
- Pterygium, as there is meat growing in the lining of the eye
Binocular diplopia causes:
- Nerve damage
- Cranial nerve weakness
- Myastenia gravis
- Grave’s disease
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
Every possible cause for double vision has potential complications. The causes of double vision can range from something that is easily treated to something more complicated, such as chronic disease. Some people with double vision may experience nausea or vertigo because the field of vision changes. Other people may experience eye strain and sensitivity to light or sound.
Life-threatening conditions such as infections or brain tumors can cause double vision, but these cases are rare. In this case, severe eye pain or headaches often occur along with visual changes. Any headaches accompanied by changes in vision are considered life threatening and require immediate medical care.
Double vision always requires a doctor’s evaluation to determine the cause. Double vision is a symptom of something abnormal happening in your eyes, brain, or nervous system. Double vision problems require complete evaluation to uncover the cause.
In many cases, the additional images you see in your field of vision are the result of conditions that are treated. But sudden changes in your vision require immediate medical attention.
Some conditions require urgent medical care to prevent permanent vision loss or life-threatening complications.
Diagnosing double vision as monocular or binocular diplopia can usually be done immediately. However, determining the cause may be more difficult. If you have double vision, telling your symptoms and vision experience will help in the diagnosis.
When you visit your doctor, your doctor will pay attention to your symptoms and perform several tests to look for additional vision problems. Doctors are also likely to have a short test to diagnose this type of diplopia.
After you have a diagnosis of diplopia, the job of finding a cause begins. To do this, your doctor will probably do three types of testing:
After you have a diagnosis of diplopia, the job of finding causes begins. To do this, your doctor will probably do three types of testing:
- Check your current health condition
You and your doctor may spend some time exploring your medical history. This includes:
A complete history of your symptoms : Explaining fully your vision problems to the doctor can help them eliminate possible causes and decide what tests can help. Be sure to tell your doctor about unusual symptoms that you experience, even though you are not sure they are related to your vision problems.
Your personal health history : Your doctor may consider underlying factors such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or neurological disorders that can cause your vision problems.
Your family’s health history : If family members have vision problems or disorders that can lead to double vision, let your doctor know. These problems can be a good starting point for your own diagnosis.
- Physical examination
A complete physical examination can help your doctor find and identify possible causes for your double vision. This check may include:
- Blood tests to look for infection
- Vision check
- Eye movement test
- Toxicity test
- Blood sugar reading
- Imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs
Before deciding on treatment, it is important for you and your doctor to find the cause of the vision problem. In many cases, vision problems can be lost once you repair or handle a fundamental problem.
The most common treatments for diplopia include:
- Corrective lenses : Glasses or special lenses can correct vision problems.
- Blindfold: Covering one eye can stop double vision. Although this may not be a long-term solution, eye patch can help manage double vision until there is a more permanent solution.
- Eye training : If your vision problem is the result of strained or weakened eye muscles, your doctor can give you “exercise” that can help you regain eye muscle strength. When muscles become stronger, your vision problems will increase.
- Surgery: Depending on the cause, you may need surgery to correct any physical problems. Also, people with problems such as cataracts or problems in the eye may need surgery at some point. Operations to deal with these problems can also improve double vision.
People with double vision often recover completely. Some people will recover with minimal care depending on the cause. Other people may need more care.
After the underlying cause is treated, double vision and any other symptoms that you experience can be lost. In some cases, you need additional treatment, but most attempts to treat diplopia are successful.
Some common causes of double vision can return. This includes cataracts and cranial nerve weakness. In this case, it is important to consult a doctor to identify the problem immediately after diplopia starts so that you can start treatment if vision problems return.