Double Vision (Diplopia): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Overview | Types | Type identification | How it occurs? | Causes | Symptoms | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |

Diplopia means double vision, it is generally considered as a condition related to old age. But diplopia is much more than this. And people often experience diplopia while being in a subconscious mind, such as after alcohol consumption, waking up with a heavy head, etc. But this kind of diplopia and diplopia as a medical condition is quite different. And the most important difference is, diplopia due to the subconscious mind is for a short time only while diplopia, and a medical condition lasts longer than the above mentioned.

 Here, we will tell you all about Diplopia, a medical health condition, and also with its cause, symptoms, diagnosis, and of course treatment.

What Is Diplopia?

Simply, diplopia refers to double vision. That means, if you have diplopia, you may see two images of one object. Because you may experience diplopia with one eye, or with both eyes also. But double vision or diplopia in both the eyes is generally considered as far more dangerous than the diplopia condition of one eye only.

Oftentimes people don’t take this condition (double vision) seriously, but you should be serious about this if you are experiencing the same. Because diplopia can be a symptom of any severe or dangerous underlying disease.  That’s why, you must consult your doctor at least once, even if your diplopia is temporary; to know the cause behind this and ensure that you don’t have any underlying health problem.

Identifying and treating the cause can help you to get your normal eyesight back and also prevent other symptoms from occurring.

Types Of Diplopia:

There are two types of diplopia—

  • Monocular diplopia – When you experience diplopia with any of the one eye only, it is considered monocular diplopia.
  • Binocular diplopia – Experiencing diplopia with both of the eyes is called binocular diplopia. A problem within your brain or nerves to your eyes can be the cause of binocular diplopia.

How To Know If I Have Diplopia Of One Eye (Monocular) Or Both Eyes (Binocular)?

To know about your affected eye, all you need to do is perform a simple test. Cover either eye with your palm and observe your vision, then perform the same with the other eye. If you are experiencing double vision while covering one eye, and not experiencing the same while covering the second eye, then your one eye with which you are experiencing diplopia is affected only. Whereas, if you experience double vision with both eyes while covering the other, you have binocular diplopia.

Monocular vision is less common than binocular.

Once your doctor determines the cause of your diplopia, then you can go with the treatment of the cause after getting identified.

When The Diploma Occurs?

Diplopia occurs when any of the following organs of your body are having any problem or damage. These are —

  • Cornea
  • The lens of the eyes
  • Muscles of the eyes
  • Nerves  damage of the eyes
  • Brain damage etc.

Causes Of Diplopia:

Causes of monocular diplopia —

  • Dry eye
  • Astigmatism
  • Retinal abnormalities
  • Infections, scars, or dryness of the cornea
  • Cataract
  • Keratoconus (degenerative condition of the eye which results in the thin cone-shaped cornea.
  • Pterygium

Causes of binocular diplopia—

  • Problem with nerves of the eyes that control its movement.
  • Myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune illness)
  • Grave’s disease
  • Thyroid
  • Nerve damage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Guillain- Barre syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Cranial nerve palsies
  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Increased pressure from injury, bleeding, or infection
  • Brain tumors
  • Migraine headaches
  • Brain swelling
  • Strabismus

Causes of temporary double vision—

  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Certain medications for seizure and epilepsy
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Refractive surgery
  • Strained eyes
  • Prolonged tiredness
  • Head injuries, such as concussions, etc.

Symptoms Of Diplopia:

  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • Experiencing pain while moving the eyes
  • Pain around your eyes, such as in temples or eyebrows
  • Weakness of eyes and its nearby area
  • Headache
  • Nausea


Each possible cause of diplopia has potential complications. Its complications range from mild to severe. Such as —

  • Chronic diseases
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Inaccurate perceptions of depth
  • Eyestrain
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Infections
  • Brain tumors
  • Headaches (can be life-threatening) etc.


Diagnosis of diplopia needs several tests sometimes. Starting with answering some questions such as, if you have met an accident, having an injury recently, etc. You should cooperate with your doctor when he/she will ask you some questions regarding your health history, family history, and symptoms.

After this brief test, and asking about your symptoms; your doctor can conduct some tests for diagnosing diplopia. After you get diagnosed, to know the cause behind your diplopia, several tests can be conducted. Some of the tests are as follows —

  • Blood test (To look for an infection)
  • Vision check
  • Imagine tests (MRI and CT scan)
  • Dilated eye exam
  • Eye movements tests
  • Toxicity test
  • Blood sugar readings etc.

Treatment Of Diplopia:

Mostly, treatment depends on the cause of diplopia. The treatment options for monocular diplopia can be —

  • For astigmatism –
  • Corrective glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Laser surgery
  • For cataract —
  • Surgery
  • Glasses of high power
  • Dry eyes —
  • Tear substitute eye drops

Treatment of Binocular diplopia depends on its causes. Still, some common treatment options of binocular diplopia can be:  

  • Wear glasses
  • Wearing an opaque glass lenses
  • Wearing an eye patch
  • Eye exercises
  • Surgery of the muscle of the eyes to correct their positioning
  • A stick-on prism placed at the centre of the spectacle frame, to realign the images from each eye.

Your doctor will prescribe you the treatment according to your need, which can treat your cause fully.

Here Are Some Treatment Options Based On The Causes.

  • In case of Brain injury, stroke etc. Should be consult with neurosurgeons.
  • There are many options to treat corneal irregularities, such as corneal or intact transplant.
  • Dry eye —
  • Eye drops
  • Punctual plugs
  • Eye vitamin
  • Lid hygiene techniques
  • Refractive surgery —
  • Surgery
  • Laser vision correction procedure
  • Strabismus —
  • Surgery
  • Vision therapy

In short, you need to treat the cause if your want to get rid of your diplopia.


If you already have an underlying cause then it is almost impossible to prevent diplopia. But you can take measures to lower the risk of diplopia as much as you can. Such as keeping your blood sugar level under control, wearing a helmet and seatbelt while driving, protecting and caring for your eyes, etc. All these can help you to avoid any condition which can invite diplopia in your life.


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