If double vision affects just one eye, it is monocular. If it affects both eyes, it is binocular. Treatments depend on the cause and type, but they include eye exercises, specially designed glasses, and surgery. This article will look at the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of double vision.
Nerve or muscle damage in the eye might cause double vision. Each eye creates its own image of the environment. The brain combines the representations from each eye and perceives them as one clear picture.
Damage to the muscles that move the eyes or the nerves that control eye movement can create a double image. The eyes must work together to create depth of field. Certain illnesses can weaken the muscles moving the eyes and produce double vision. This occurs when the eyes are not properly aligned.
Strabismus is relatively common in children.
However, the condition does not always result in double vision. Strabismus causes the eyes to look in slightly different directions. This might be because the affected eye muscles have the following difficulties:. Sometimes, a squint can return later in life for people who had a squint as a child.
In some cases, the treatment of a squint can actually cause double vision, despite the individual's vision being normal before the squint was treated.
This is because the brain had been suppressing signals from one of the eyes in an attempt to maintain normal vision. If double vision is noted when one eye is covered but not the other, this is referred to as monocular double vision.
Monocular double vision is less common than binocular double vision. The following conditions can cause monocular double vision and can be caused by the following conditions:. Double vision can sometimes be temporary. Alcohol intoxication, benzodiazepines, opioids, or certain medications for seizures and epilepsy sometimes cause this. Head injuries, such as concussions , can also cause temporary double vision. Being particularly tired or having strained eyes can bring on temporary double vision.
If normal vision does not return quickly, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Diagnosing double vision can be challenging for an eye specialist because there are so many possible causes. An article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology website states:. The cause may be as rare as Wernicke encephalopathy or as common as convergence insufficiency. If the double vision is monocular, it means that the problem is more likely to be within the eye, rather than in the nerves.
It is likely to be less serious. When did the double vision start? Have you hit your head, fallen, or been unconscious? Were you in a car accident? Is the double vision worse at the end of the day or when you're tired? Have you had any other symptoms besides double vision? Do you tend to tilt your head to one side? Look at old pictures, or ask family -- you may not even be aware of the habit.
Are the two objects side by side, or is one on top of the other? Or are they slightly slanted? Which one is higher or lower? Are both images clear but not in line? Or is one blurry and the other clear?
Cover one eye, then switch. Does the problem go away when either eye is covered? Pretend your field of vision is a clock face. Move your eyes around the clock, from noon to six and around to 12 again. Is your vision worse at any clock position? Does any position make it better?
Tilt your head to the right, then to the left. Do any of these positions improve your eyesight or make it worse? Continued How Is It Treated? The most important step is to identify and treat the root cause. If weak eye muscles are to blame, or if a muscle has been pinched as a result of injury, surgery may help.
Medications can treat myasthenia gravis. Abscess Anisometropia Botulism Brain tumor Cannabis Cancer Damaged third , fourth , or sixth cranial nerves, which control eye movements. This section is empty.
You can help by adding to it. Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases. Retrieved 27 March Journal of the American Optometric Association. Diseases of the human eye H00—H59 — Dacryoadenitis Epiphora Dacryocystitis Xerophthalmia. Exophthalmos Enophthalmos Orbital cellulitis Orbital lymphoma Periorbital cellulitis. Conjunctivitis allergic Pterygium Pinguecula Subconjunctival hemorrhage. Cataract Congenital cataract Childhood cataract Aphakia Ectopia lentis. Ophthalmoparesis Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia Kearns—Sayre syndrome. Conjugate gaze palsy Convergence insufficiency Internuclear ophthalmoplegia One and a half syndrome.
Hemianopsia binasal bitemporal homonymous Quadrantanopia.
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