Diplopia

Double vision (diplopia) means that you are seeing two of everything. Diplopia usually occurs with both eyes open, and may be worse when looking in one particular direction. If both eyes must be open to see double, this is called binocular diplopia. If double images are seen in just one eye, this is called monocular diplopia.

CAUSES

Binocular Diplopia

  • Disorder affecting the muscles that move the eyes or the nerves that control those muscles.

  • Tumor or other mass pushing on an eye from beside or behind the eye.

  • Myasthenia gravis. This is a neuromuscular illness that causes the body's muscles to tire easily. The eye muscles and eyelid muscles become weak. The eyes do not track together well.

  • Grave's disease. This is an overactivity of the thyroid gland. This condition causes swelling of tissues around the eyes. This produces a bulging out of the eyeball.

  • Blowout fracture of the bone around the eye. The muscles of the eye socket are damaged. This often happens when the eye is hit with force.

  • Complications after certain surgeries, such as a lens implant after cataract surgery.

  • Fluid-filled mass (abscess) behind or beside the eye, infection, or abnormal connection between arteries and veins.

Sometimes, no cause is found.

Monocular Diplopia

  • Problems with corrective lens or contacts.

  • Corneal abrasion, infection, severe injury, or bulging and irregularity of the corneal surface (keratoconus).

  • Irregularities of the pupil from drugs, severe injury, or other causes.

  • Problems involving the lens of the eye, such as opacities or cataracts.

  • Complications after certain surgeries, such as a lens implant after cataract surgery.

  • Retinal detachment or problems involving the blood vessels of the retina.

Sometimes, no cause is found.

SYMPTOMS

Binocular Diplopia

  • When one eye is closed or covered, the double images disappear.

Monocular Diplopia

  • When the unaffected eye is closed or covered, the double images remain. The double images disappear when the affected eye is closed or covered.

DIAGNOSIS

A diagnosis is made during an eye exam.

TREATMENT

Treatment depends on the cause or underlying disease.

  • Relief of double vision symptoms may be achieved by patching one eye or by using special glasses.

  • Surgery on the muscles of the eye may be needed.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You see two images of a single object you are looking at, either with both eyes open or with just one eye open.