Double vision (diplopia) causes: Thyroid disease, stroke and MS

By: Bel Marra Health | Eye Health | Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 03:30 PM

Double vision (diplopia) causes: Thyroid disease, stroke and MSDouble vision (diplopia) can be caused by thyroid disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS). Double vision is when a single object appears blurred or doubled. Double vision can be temporary or it can occur all the time. Double vision can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

There are three types of diplopia: binocular double vision, monocular double vision and physiological double vision. Binocular double vision is when both eyes do not work properly, but if the patient covers one eye, their vision returns to normal.

Monocular double vision is when a patient covers the unaffected eye and the vision remains doubled. Only one eye produces the double vision, so when the affected eye is covered vision appears normal.

Lastly, physiological double vision is when objects that a person is not focusing on appear double. This type of double vision can go unnoticed because the brain compensates for the double vision in the background. This type of double vision is most commonly seen in children.

What causes double vision?

Depending on the type of double vision you have, there are a variety of causes. Here are the causes of double vision based on each type of diplopia.

What causes double vision?Binocular double vision causes

  • Thyroid disease
  • Arterial disease
  • Diabetes
  • Myasthenia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Aneurysm
  • Blood clot
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Injury

Monocular double vision causes

  • Abnormality in the cornea
  • Abnormality in the iris
  • Abnormality in the lens of the eye
  • Abnormality in the vitreous humor
  • Abnormality in the aqueous humor

Physiological double vision causes

  • Astigmatism
  • Cataracts
  • Dry eye
  • Swelling in the eyelid
  • Dislocated lens

Double vision can also be temporary. Common causes of temporary double vision include:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Concussion
  • Anti-epileptic drug side effect
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Hypnotic drug side effect
  • Tiredness

Symptoms of double vision

The main symptom of double vision is seeing two of a singular object. This condition is often confused with blurry vision, but in blurred vision a single object is unclear and in double vision there appears to be two of the same object.

For some, double vision can be temporary and come and go, but for others it can be a daily occurrence.

Double vision treatment

The type of double vision that you have – binocular or monocular – will determine the modes of treatment that can be done. Common treatment options for binocular double vision include:

  • Double vision treatmentEye muscle surgery
  • Having a contact lens in one eye that blocks vision
  • Wearing an eye patch
  • Receiving Botox injections to strengthen weak eye muscles
  • Wearing glasses with filters
  • Eye exercises
  • Opaque intraocular lens – removing the lens and replacing it with an implant

Treatment for monocular double vision:

  • Treating an astigmatism with corrective lenses
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Removing cataracts
  • Treating dry eye syndrome by using tear substitutes

Although not life-threatening, double vision can be a nuisance and impede on daily life. Understanding the underlining cause is a good start in determining treatment options for double vision. Getting regular eye exams is also beneficial as changes in visions can be spotted immediately, before complications arise.

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