Double Vision (Adult)
Double vision, or diplopia, is the symptom of seeing two of the same object you are looking at. Seeing double all the time can be very troubling. Double vision most often occurs with our adult strabismus (eye misalignment) patients. A young child’s brain can usually ignore double vision when their eyes are not aligned by "turning off" one eye.
It is important to determine if the double vision is from one eye by itself (monocular diplopia) or from both eyes (binocular diplopia).
If you cover either eye and double vision is still present, then monocular diplopia is likely present. Monocular diplopia could be caused by many things including astigmatism, an irregularity in the cornea or lens, a cataract, or a fold on the retina. It is not an eye muscle issue and can be evaluated by your regular eye doctor who can help you determine the next steps.
If the double vision is present only when both eyes are open and trying to work together, then binocular diplopia is present. This is most likely caused by strabismus. An initial evaluation can still be done by your regular eye doctor, who may refer you to an eye muscle specialist like us if needed. Double vision from strabismus can often be effectively treated with prism glasses or eye muscle surgery.
It's important to have any double vision checked as soon as possible—especially if you experience the following:
- new diplopia symptoms in the last 1-2 weeks
- droopy eyelid
- different pupil sizes
- other neurologic symptoms
If your situation raises concern about a dangerous condition, you may be directed to the emergency room for evaluation.