Seeing Double

July 15, 2021

If you’re old enough, you may remember a lame song in the 70s by Foreigner titled Double Vision. While that song was and is easily forgettable, if you actually have symptoms of double vision, we need to see you at Millennium Park as this condition can point to some serious health issues.

What is double vision?

Double vision is seeing two images of an object instead of one. Also called diplopia, double vision can occur suddenly, and its causes can be quite serious. You may have heard the term “ghost image” used to describe the less dominant of the two images a person is seeing with diplopia.

There are different types of double vision:

·      Horizontal diplopia — Double vision where the two images are separated horizontally.

·      Vertical diplopia — Double vision where one image is higher than the other.

·      Monocular diplopia — Double vision that persists in one eye when the other eye is closed.

What causes double vision?

Double vision can be temporary, such as if you’ve had a little too much fun at the party or when you’re really tired. But if the double images go away and then return or if they continue, this can have these causes:

·      Stroke, head injury, brain tumor, brain swelling, or aneurysm — All of these injuries or damage to the brain can cause double vision.

·      Eye problems — Certain eye conditions such as keratoconus, cataracts, and even dry eye can cause double vision. Usually, this is the monocular type.

·      Refractive surgery — Double vision can be a side effect after LASIK or PRK refractive surgery. This usually is some minor double vision or ghost images due to the changes in the shape of your cornea. These usually clear up within a few weeks, but sometimes a second laser vision correction procedure could be needed.

·      Cranial nerve palsies — Diplopia can also be caused by paralysis or loss of coordination of one or more muscles that control the position and teaming of the eyes due to a cranial nerve palsy. Various medical conditions, such as diabetes, MS, and others can cause this.

Treating double vision

If you start having double vision, it’s important to come see the team at Millennium Park Eye Center immediately. And if you had double vision for some time and then it went away, that’s not a reason to think it cleared up on its own. Once double vision lasts for some time, the brain tunes out one of the images. This is not good for the eye being suppressed.

Double vision caused by strokes or nerve palsies can be difficult to correct, otherwise we can typically treat diplopia with options such as patching one eye or prescribing special contact lenses.

If you’re seeing double, give us a call at Millennium Park, (312) 996-2020, and let’s check out what’s going on.


Leave a Reply