All You Need to Know About Double Vision (AKA Diplopia)

Double vision, also known as diplopia, is a condition which affects hundreds of thousands of people each year, and it can be triggered by a wide variety of causes. It is important to understand this condition so that you can learn how it can be prevented in the future and treated.

All You Need to Know About Double Vision (AKA Diplopia) in Hixson

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

What is Diplopia?

Diplopia, more well known as double vision, can be caused by a wide range of things, leading to around 850,000 visits to the doctor or emergency room each year by people suffering from it.

Double vision is what occurs when the brain is not properly processing and combining the visual input from each eye into a single, clear image. As a result of this dysfunction, you end up seeing the separate, sometimes overlapping images from each eye.

Diplopia can be either a short term issue or long lasting, and the severity of the double vision can vary as well.

There are a few types of double vision vision:

  • Vertical Diplopia: This is when one of the two images appears higher than the other.
  • Horizontal Diplopia: This is when the two images appear to be side by side
  • Monocular Diplopia: This type of diplopia occurs only in a single eye, and can be noticed when the other eye is closed.

What Causes Double Vision?

There are numerous potential causes of double vision, some more common than others.

Common causes include:

  • Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency is a relatively common vision issue in which the eyes have difficulty working together. Among other symptoms, it can cause double vision. However, the double vision caused by convergence insufficiency is generally only noticed while especially fatigued or stressed.

  • Strabismus

Strabismus is a condition which occurs when the eyes are not properly aligned, and one turns in a different direction. This results in the patient seeing two different images of the same object. Strabismus is the most common cause of double vision, and those with this condition are likely to experience it. However, it is not guaranteed. In those other cases, something called suppression occurs, where the brain actively shuts off the incorrectly turning eye to avoid double vision. If the strabismus is left untreated, the suppressed eye can suffer permanent vision loss.

Other Causes

Many other conditions can cause double vision by impacting the nerves or ocular muscles that control eye movement and are key to the brain-eye link.

These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke 
  • Brain swelling
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cranial nerve palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
What Causes Double Vision?
Monocular Double Vision

Monocular Double Vision

Monocular double vision is far less common than binocular double vision, and it can be caused by:

  • Dry eye
  • Keratoconus 
  • Black eye
  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts 

Temporary Double Vision

Temporary double vision describes instances where one experiences double vision, but only for a short period, not regularly (unless the action which caused it is repeated.)

These causes include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Certain drugs (such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and medications for seizures and epilepsy)
  • Head injuries like concussions
Monocular Double Vision

How is Double Vision Diagnosed?

Double vision can be tough to diagnose, since it can be caused by a wide range of conditions, especially binocular double vision. However, a comprehensive eye exam conducted by a certified neuro-optometrist will likely detect the double vision and help determine the precise cause of it.

It is important to seek emergency medical attention if you experience any type of double vision, so you can rule out or at least detect potentially serious health problems which may be causing your double vision. Even if it appears to go away on its own, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to possibly signifying a serious underlying problem, diplopia can worsen if left untreated.

How is Double Vision Treated?

Treatments can vary based on the main cause of the double vision, and the severity. 

  • Botox injections can relax the eye muscles to reduce symptoms.
  • An eye patch or opaque contact lenses can be worn to manually suppress vision in one eye
  • Surgery can be used to treat some types of double vision.
  • Prisms may be used to shift the image to realign
  • Vision therapy performed by a neuro-optometrist, is designed to treat the underlying problem, not only the symptoms.

Vision Therapy as Treatment for Double Vision

The treatment process for double vision by a neuro-optometrist begins with a comprehensive evaluation which will give our doctor a better idea what the root cause of your problem is, what type of diplopia you have This will tell our doctor which visual skills need to be worked on, to enable the formulation of a personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatment plan aimed at correcting the problem and restoring your quality of life to a level as close as possible to what it was prior to the onset of diplopia.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy utilizes specialized therapeutic lenses, filters, patches, and prisms along with exercises, to help you regain lost visual skills or develop new ones to move you back toward long-lasting clear vision.

What Causes Double Vision?
Dr. McBryar cartoon


Double vision, or diplopia, is a vision problem which can be caused by a wide range of conditions. Due to this, it is important that if you experience double vision, even only briefly, you seek medical treatment immediately. Treatments such as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy are effective and available, but things become more complex and more difficult the longer you wait. If you have recently experienced double vision, or suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact us today to Book an Appointment for a comprehensive vision evaluation.

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Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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