Double vision, also known as diplopia, occurs when a person sees a double image instead of one. The two images can be on top of another, or side by side, or both. This condition can affect reading ability, movement, and balance. In this article, we will learn about the common causes of double vision.
2 Types of Double Vision
There are two types of diplopia:
a. Binocular Double Vision
Binocular diplopia is when the double vision affects both the eyes.
b. Monocular Double Vision
When you suffer from a double vision in one eye, it is known as monocular double vision or monocular diplopia. The condition just affects one eye while the other eye sees normal images.
Primary Causes of Double Vision
Generally, monocular diplopia is caused due to an issue within the eye itself and binocular diplopia is caused by a range of underlying brain, nerve, or muscle conditions. These conditions may include:
- Misaligned eyes, known as strabismus
- Stroke, head injury, brain swelling, brain aneurysm, and brain tumor
- Black eye
Temporary episodes of double vision can be a result of concussion, alcohol intoxication or medications. Temporary double vision is not to be worried about as the vision will go back to normal in no time.
Eye Conditions Causing Double Vision
There are several eye conditions that can cause monocular diplopia. Let us learn about them and look at double vision treatment options.
Cataracts occur in more than 50% of the people in the United States over the age of 80.
A cataract can develop on the clear lens of the eye and make it cloudy. Cataracts lead to issues like blurry vision, halos around lights, faded colors, and even double vision in one eye.
Treatment: Surgery is the best option to treat cataracts. The procedure will remove the clouding and the cause of the double vision. There may be complications like infection and pain or continued blurry vision. However, timely treatment can usually resolve these complications.
Astigmatism occurs when the eye isn’t perfectly round. The cornea at the front of the eye is irregularly shaped. This affects the way the eyes bend light. With astigmatism, the cornea has two curves on the surface, which will cause blurry or double vision.
Treatment: Astigmatism can be corrected using corrective glasses or contact lenses to counteract the curvature. The glasses can correct the passage of the incoming light into the eye, thus minimizing double vision.
LASIK is another option to cure double vision caused due to astigmatism, where the surgery reshapes the cornea with a laser.
Every time you blink, tears spread across the surface of the eye and provide lubrication to the eye. Without sufficient production of high-quality tears, the eyes will dry out quickly.
Dry eyes lead to irritation and burning sensation in the eye. More severe dry eye condition can cause diplopia.
Treatment: Tear substitute eye drops helps in relieving symptoms of the dry eyes. They help in reducing inflammation and soreness of the eye. Even the symptoms of double vision can be addressed using eye drops.
In rare cases, the cornea can become thin and develop an irregular cone shape. This degenerative eye condition is known as keratoconus. This condition can cause double vision, sensitivity to light and blurred vision.
Treatment: Those suffering from keratoconus can use the right type of contact lenses to correct the double vision.
If you think you suffer from monocular or binocular double vision, consult with an ophthalmologist immediately. They can provide proper diagnosis and offer the right double vision treatment.