Why You Should Never Ignore Double VisionPosted March 25, 2021
Whenever you notice sudden changes in your vision, it is a wise decision to make an appointment with your eye doctor. Though there may be a simple explanation, your eyes are occasionally an indicator of a serious condition. In the case of double vision, there is usually an underlying condition that can require urgent medical care. Always seek professional help.
The Causes of Double Vision
Double vision, scientifically known as diplopia, occurs when you see two images of one object. Usually the result of an underlying condition, identifying and treating the real cause of this symptom is essential for recovering healthy sight.
There are two kinds of diplopia. Each is caused by a different form of condition, so it is important to know which kind you have.
- Binocular double vision may be caused by a problem in your brain or the nerves to your eye. This form will disappear when either eye is covered. Causes include: nerve damage, diabetes, cranial nerve palsy, strabismus, and Graves’ disease. Those with this condition report that both images are equally clear.
- Monocular double vision is the result of a problem with one of your eyes. It will go away if you cover the “bad”/affected eye. It is less common than binocular. Causes include: cataracts, dry eye, and severe astigmatism. Those with this condition often report that one image is very clear and the other is grainy/washed out.
Whatever the form, diplopia symptoms can vary depending on the underlying condition. Your doctor will help you determine which symptoms are caused by the double-vision and which by the underlying condition.
Diplopia itself can cause several symptoms:
- nausea/vertigo because of an altered field of vision
- eye strain
- sensitivity to light/sounds
- headache (if you experience this symptom, consider it life-threatening unless your doctor says otherwise. This usually indicates a serious infection or brain tumor.)
As soon as you notice double vision of any kind, let your doctor know. This eye condition requires complete evaluation. Determining the cause of diplopia can be difficult and the more time you give your doctor, the better.
Once you have a diplopia diagnosis, your doctor will take stock of your current state of health. Note all symptoms and recent health changes so you can discuss them with your doctor. Be prepared to discuss your past health history and family history as well. A full physical exam will allow your doctor to find and identify any possible causes of your double vision, including blood tests, vision tests, toxicity tests, and possibly a CT scan or MRI.
Common treatments of diplopia include corrective lenses, eye patch/cover, exercises, or surgery. Of course, fixing the underlying problem may clear up all your double vision symptoms, but you may still need to retrain your eyes/brain after you are healthy again.
People with double vision often fully recover. It may take some time, especially if your particular underlying condition is difficult to find or treat. Additionally, if you ever notice your child covering or closing one eye, tilting their head while looking at something, or complaining of vertigo, contact your doctor. The sooner you get a diagnosis and treatment, the sooner you can have healthy vision again.