Double vision, or diplopia, occurs when an individual sees two of a singular object. the condition can be treated and prevented in most circumstances. For this one needs to book in for a comprehensive eye test to examine the sight. The condition can become chronic and negatively impact one’s quality of life. Sudden double vision is an urgent symptom which requires an urgent appointment. Please call us today to book for a MECS appointment paid for by the NHS.
The Three Major Types of Diplopia
The co-ordination between both eyes is dysfunctional. When you cover one eye, the double vision is resolved.
Double vision occurs only in one eye, which creates a ghosting effect that causes two images to separate slightly.
Background images double, as opposed to images in focus.
What Causes Diplopia?
Healthy eyesight demands the full functionality of vision systems, from the cornea to the lens and to the eye muscles to the nerves that relay visual information to the brain. If you see double, likely, one of these components isn’t functioning correctly.
The cornea is responsible for focusing on incoming light. Corneal damage can occur due to infection, scars, dryness, or even refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK. Eye drops will often help, though more severe cases might demand surgery.
2. Eye Lens
The lens behind the pupil help focus light onto the retina. The most common lens problem is cataracts, which can lead to diplopia.
3. Eye Muscles and Nerves
Some muscles in the eyes are weaker than others and this can be the result of:
- Thyroid conditions such as Graves Disease can cause vertical diplopia—when one image appears on top of the other. Or Horizontal diplopia where the images appear next to each other.
- Autoimmune illnesses such as Myasthenia Gravis can affect the stimulation of the muscles by nerves connected to the brain.
- Cranial nerve palsy can inhibit the control and coordination of the eye muscles.
- Multiple sclerosis damages the insulation around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome causes progressive nerve weakness.
- Diabetes affects the blood flow to the nerves and muscles.
Strokes, aneurysms, increased pressure, tumours, and migraine headaches can impact the function of both eyes.
What Are the Symptoms of Diplopia?
Sometimes, double vision will occur independently of other symptoms, though some will experience:
- Wandering eyes or a cross-eyed appearance
- Pain and discomfort in the eyes, temples, or eyebrows
- Weakness and drooping of the eyelids
How to Treat Diplopia
It’s best to consult and Optometrist first to identify the underlying cause of your condition. Opticians can help you if weak eye muscles prove to be the cause. Your optometrist might suggest referral for possible surgery. However, other issues such as diabetes or myasthenia might only require medication.
If the diplopia is irreversible, your optician / optometrist might recommend prism glasses or an eye patch.
How to Prevent Diplopia
To prevent diplopia from developing is to tackle its underlying cause. To keep your eyes healthy:
1. Manage Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, adhere to your treatment plan down to the T. Because Type 2 can develop as a result of poor lifestyle choices, being obese, eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise can reduce the risk of diplopia.
2. Watch Out for Cataracts
Avoid cataracts by protecting your eyes with sunglasses which block UV when out of the house, refraining from smoking, and eating balanced meals.
3. Soothe Dry Eyes
Never leave dry eyes to worsen or “fix themselves.” Keep your eyes well-lubricated with an optician / optometrist recommended eye drops or other solution.
4. Protect Against Head Injuries
As a rule of thumb, protect against potential head trauma by being mindful of wearing your seatbelt in any vehicle or investing in a helmet if you take a bike to work.
Double vision can take away from the experience of driving across the countryside or binge-watching your favourite show. By preventing its underlying causes, you’ll be far less likely to develop diplopia.
Start with an eye exam by Simon Kleyn, one of the best opticians optometrists in Essex. A regular, full routine eye test can keep conditions from worsening or can treat early onset eye disease.