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Double Vision Vs Blurred Vision

What Are The Complications Of Double Vision

Patient Success With Double Vision And Blurry Vision

Every cause of double vision has the potential for problems.

Double vision may result from something easy to treat to something more complex, such as a chronic illness.

Because of the altered field of vision, some people with double vision may experience nausea or vertigo.

Others may experience sensitivity to light or sounds, as well as eye strain.

Double vision may be caused by life-threatening conditions, such as infections or brain tumors, although these are uncommon.

Severe eye discomfort, visual alteration, and headaches are common in many instances of diplopia. Any headache that is accompanied by vision changes can be life-threatening and requires urgent medical attention.

How Can I Manage My Diplopia Symptoms

Follow the directions your healthcare provider gives you. Some treatments for correcting double vision involve covering one eye for a while, or wearing a special contact lens. Your healthcare provider will walk you through all the ways you can get your symptoms under control, including eliminating your diplopia.

Whats Causing My Double Vision Whats Causing My Double Vision

Written by Last modified on August 6, 2018

Have you been experiencing episodes of double vision seeing multiple images of a single object and wondering what is behind the issue? Also called diplopia, double vision is often temporary and not related to any serious underlying condition. However it should never be ignored and if it occurs with regularity, you should discuss the occurrences with your eye doctor.

What Causes Diplopia?

Your eyes function independently from one another meaning that each eye captures its own set of images that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. Your brain combines these image signals into a single, clear picture with depth perception. Double vision typically reflects a breakdown in this process of combining the duplicate image signals.

Its important to note that double vision doesnt necessarily mean that youll see two clear images. Oftentimes double simply means blurred vision. For example, you may see ghost images, which is a type of image blur that causes objects to appear almost transparent because of the image overlay.

When is double vision typically not a cause for concern?

If you experience the occasional bout of double vision tied to either of these aforementioned common scenarios, its typically not a cause for concern.

When is double vision a cause for concern?

For more information on distorted vision, I urge you to check out our 9 causes of blurred or distorted vision slideshow.

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Double Vision Affecting 1 Eye

Double vision affecting 1 eye is less common. It’s usually caused by eye problems such as:

  • dry eyes where the eyes do not produce enough tears
  • astigmatism a common condition where part of the eye is not a perfect shape
  • cataracts cloudy patches over the front of the eyes
  • keratoconus where the clear outer layer of the eye gets thinner and changes shape

Causes Of Binocular Double Vision

Double Vision (Diplopia): Causes, Symptoms &  Treatment

A common cause of binocular double vision is a squint or strabismus.

This condition occurs when the eyes are not correctly aligned. Strabismus is relatively common in children. However, the condition does not always result in double vision.

Strabismus causes the eyes to look in slightly different directions.

This condition might be because the affected eye has the following difficulties:

  • they are paralyzed or weak
  • they have restricted movement
  • they are too strong or overactive
  • the nerves controlling the eye muscles have abnormalities

Sometimes, a squint can return later in life for people who had a squint as a child. In some cases, the treatment of a squint can also cause double vision. This occurs because the brain had been suppressing signals from one of the eyes in an attempt to avoid double vision.

Other conditions that can cause double vision include:

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What Causes Double Vision

Each eye forms a unique picture of its surroundings. The brain combines the information from each eye and interprets them as a single, distinct image.

Depth of field is created by combining the efforts of both eyes. Double imaging may be caused by damage to the muscles that move the eyes or the nerves that regulate eye movement.

Certain diseases may also impair the muscles that move the eyes, resulting in double vision.

Possible causes of monocular diplopia include:

  • Cataract which is prevalent among people above the age of 80 years3
  • Issues with corneashape, such as in the case of keratoconus or surface irregularity4
  • Dry eyeswhereby blinking becomes itchy and stingy
  • Lens dislocation, such as in the case of eye trauma

Possible causes of binocular diplopia include:

  • Diabetes can cause nerve damage in the eyes
  • Extraocular muscle damage such as in the case of head trauma, stroke, brain tumor, an eye tumor, or multiple sclerosis
  • Grave’s disease , which may cause thickening or swelling of eye socket muscles
  • Myasthenia gravis, which hinders the ability of the eye muscles to work properly

What Are The Symptoms Of Double Vision

Patients typically easily identify double vision. In some cases the two images are completely separate, and in other cases they are overlapping. Double vision might occur in specific circumstances . In some cases the double vision may fluctuate throughout the day, being most prominent during periods of fatigue. Patients with some forms of double vision may find themselves closing one eye to improve their vision.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

  • Whats causing my double vision?
  • How long will this last?
  • Will I need to see a specialist?
  • What tests will I need?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Its scary whenever something is wrong with your eyes, and thats especially true when youre having double vision. Even though it can be a sign of something serious, diplopia is almost always a temporary issue. However, never take your eyesight for granted. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you notice changes in your vision or something doesnt feel right.

Monocular Vs Binocular Diplopia


Your healthcare provider will classify your double vision as either monocular or binocular . Monocular diplopia is present when you use only one eye at a time. It may appear as a shadow. Binocular diplopia is present when both eyes are open at the same time. It goes away if you cover one of your eyes.

Monocular diplopia is more common and usually less serious. Binocular diplopia is usually caused by your eyes being out of alignment or other, more serious underlying conditions.

Horizontal diplopia vs. vertical diplopia

If you have binocular diplopia, your double vision can appear either vertically or horizontally . Which one you have depends on whats causing your diplopia and how your eyes are out of alignment.

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Check If You Have Double Vision

Double vision is when you look at 1 object but can see 2 images. It may affect 1 eye or both eyes.

Signs that your child may have problems with their vision include:

  • narrowing or squinting their eyes to try to see better
  • covering 1 eye with their hand
  • turning their head in unusual ways
  • looking at you sideways instead of facing forward

What Causes Temporary Double Vision Is It Serious

Temporary double vision is also a possible occurrence but is rarely severe.

Temporary double vision can be caused by:

  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Excessive tiredness

When recovering from LASIK or other vision correction surgery, some people suffer from temporary double vision.5

This kind of diplopia usually goes away with time. In some cases, it will need to be addressed with advanced procedures such as laser surgery.

The severity of double vision varies based on the cause. Even though short-term diplopia is not considered an emergency, early treatment is recommended. This is particularly true if the condition manifests after eye damage or infection.

In general, sudden onset of diplopia is cause for concern. Seek an eye care professional right away.

Although diplopia is a visual problem, an eye doctor may not be the only kind of doctor to seek treatment from. For example, if you suspect that your double vision is a side effect of a drug you’re taking, you should contact the doctor who prescribed it. However, any case of eye trauma should be addressed by an experienced ophthalmologist.

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When To See An Eye Doctor For Cloudy Vision

Mild cloudy vision that lasts a day or two usually isnt a cause for concern. However, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if the cloudiness persists or worsens.

The following symptoms also warrant a doctors visit:

  • Eye pain thats sudden or severe
  • A headache that accompanies the cloudy vision
  • A gritty sensation in your eye

Your doctor will diagnose the underlying cause of the cloudy vision and review treatment options.

What Can I Expect If I Have Diplopia

Blurred Vision Distorted High Resolution Stock Photography and Images ...

If you have double vision, you should expect it to be a short-term issue.

How long does diplopia last?

Most cases of diplopia are temporary. In fact, your double vision might go away on its own. If you experience double vision more than once, or if it comes and goes, you could have whats called transient diplopia. Even if your double vision clears up on its own, you should see your healthcare provider.

When can I go back to work or school?

You might need to miss work or school while you have double vision. You shouldnt drive or do anything else that could hurt yourself or others while your vision is impaired.

Whats the outlook for diplopia?

The outlook for diplopia is very positive. It doesnt have a long-term effect on most people. Depending on whats causing your diplopia, you might need to make some adjustments to your daily routine.

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What Is The Outlook For Double Vision

People who have double vision do recover completely after some time. Depending on the cause, some patients may recover with minimal therapy. However, others may need more medical attention to deal with the issue.

The double vision and any other symptoms you’re experiencing should go away after addressing the underlying cause.

In rare cases, you may require additional therapy, although most diplopia treatments are effective.

Some of the most common causes of double vision, such as cataracts and cranialnervepalsy, may reoccur. Consult with your doctor as soon as it arises so treatment can begin at the earliest stages.

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any changes in your vision. Whether its something as simple as needing new glasses, or a more serious condition, dont wait for symptoms to get worse before having your eyes checked.

When should I go to ER?

Go to the emergency room if youre experiencing double vision that doesnt go away in a few hours, or if you have any other symptoms like pain, dizziness, weakness, slurred speech or confusion. Diplopia can be the first sign of a serious issue like an aneurysm or stroke, and you shouldnt ignore it.

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When To See A Doctor For Cataracts

You should see an eye doctor whenever you notice changes in your vision, but especially if these changes seem to develop quickly or are interfering with your ability to complete tasks.

If youre older than 60, its a good idea to see an eye doctor every two years to get your vision checked, even if you havent noticed any changes.

Diplopia Caused By Other Conditions

What Causes Blurry Vision, Blurred Vision, or Cloudy Vision?

Diplopia is often caused by other issues and conditions in your body and eyes. Thats why its so important to get your eyes checked right away when you notice any changes in your vision.

Diplopia and myasthenia gravis

People with myasthenia gravis have muscle weakness that worsens throughout the day. This can affect your ocular muscles and cause double vision.

Diplopia and proptosis

Proptosis is the bulging of one or both of your eyes from their natural position. Bulging eyes are usually caused by thyroid issues, like Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism, and may come with diplopia.

Diplopia and keratoconus

Keratoconus occurs when your cornea loses its shape. Usually, your corneas are round, but keratoconus causes your cornea to bulge outward like a cone. This distorted shape causes vision issues, including diplopia.

Diplopia and vertigo

Vertigo is a sensation that the environment around you is spinning in circles. Its usually caused by issues in your inner ear. However, if youre experiencing severe double vision, you might feel vertigo, too. Diplopia and vertigo are usually symptoms of other issues in your body.

Diplopia and diabetes

If you have diabetes, your body isnt able to properly process and use glucose from the food you eat. Diabetes can damage your eyes and cause symptoms like diplopia and serious issues like diabetes-related retinopathy.

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Cloudy Vision Or Blurry Vision There Is A Difference

When a person doesnt see as well as they used to, the common ways they describe their vision are blurry and cloudy. Often, the terms are used interchangeably, at least by patients. Doctors know that there are unique differences between cloudy vision and blurry vision. They also know that the causes of either blurriness or cloudiness can vary widely. Because your doctor relies somewhat on your description of what you are experiencing, it is important to know how to accurately describe your situation. Here, well provide some assistance.

Double Vision In Both Eyes

As opposed to double vision in one eye, binocular diplopia is when you have double vision with both eyes open.

The most common cause of binocular diplopia is a problem with the alignment of your eyes. When your vision functions properly, both eyes take in information. Your brain then combines that information to create a single clear image.

When the visual system isnt functioning properly the brain cant combine the signals from both eyes into a single image. This causes you to see things twice, usually overlapping.

The causes for eye misalignment include strabismus , eye muscle problems, nerve problems, and neurological conditions that affect the nerves of your eyes.

Any health problem that affects the eye muscles also impacts the way the eyes move around together and coordinate with each other – causing eye alignment issues.

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When To See An Eye Doctor For Blurry Vision

If you have mild blurry vision that comes and goes, this could mean simply tiredness, eye strain or over-exposure to sunlight.

It could also mean your vision prescription needs to be updated. Or it could mean youve developed a refractive error and are in need of vision correction. If your blurry vision lingers and doesnt improve with rest, time away from screens and getting out of the sun for a while, its time to see an eye doctor.

Sudden or continuing changes in vision such as blurriness, double vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, halos or dimness of vision could be signs of a serious eye disease or other health problem.

If you have sudden changes to your vision, including blurry vision, you should always see an eye doctor near you immediately.

Page published on Monday, March 4, 2019

Page updated on Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Medically reviewed on Sunday, April 25, 2021

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What Causes Blurred Vision

Blurred or double vision/loss of vision

The main cause of blurred vision is refractive errors where the shape of your eye does not bend light correctly or presbyopia a gradual, age-related condition where the eyes lose the ability to focus on nearby objects.

But your temporary or sudden blurred vision could also stem from a non-eye condition.

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Double Vision Caused By Eye Muscle Problems

Six muscles in your eye socket control your eye’s movement up, down, to each side and in rotation. Problems in these extraocular muscles include weakness or paralysis that prevent one eye from moving in coordination with the other. Eye muscle problems include:

  • Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition that affects eye muscles and causes vertical double vision, in which one image appears above the other
  • Strabismus , a weakened or paralyzed eye muscle that prevents the eyes from aligning properly

How K Health Can Help

Are you experiencing sudden blurry vision? You may need to speak to a doctor. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?

to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and, if needed, text with a healthcare provider in minutes.

K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and is based on 20 years of clinical data.

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The Bottom Line On Double Vision Vs Myopia

In this article, we went over what are the differences between myopia and double vision.

Double vision that comes and goes is generally nothing to worry about. However, regular double vision may have some serious underlying health conditions.

On the other hand, myopia is caused by an eyeball that is longer than normal. It is much easier to diagnose and correct than double vision.

Talk to your eye doctor right away if you notice changes in your vision or something doesnt feel right. Its the only way to determine the root cause of your double vision.

Feel free to leave any questions you have below in the comment section. We will get back to you as soon as possible!

Can Blurred Vision Be Prevented

What causes sudden blurred vision?

It’s very important to look after your eyes, so have regular eye check-ups every 2 years with a registered practitioner such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses and a hat protect them from injury by using safety glasses, especially if you do hazardous work.

Having a healthy lifestyle and giving up smoking will also safeguard your eyes.

It is especially important to look after your eyes if you have diabetes. Do this by controlling your blood glucose levels, making sure you have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. See your doctor straight away if you notice any vision problems to prevent them from getting worse.

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