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FACTS ABOUT DOUBLE VISION

3 min read

Double vision is the perception of two images of a single object seen adjacent to each other (horizontally, vertically, or obliquely) or overlapping. Double vision is medically termed diplopia. Polyplopia is the perception of three or more images of a single object overlapping each other.

Opening your eyes and seeing a single, clear image is something you probably take for granted. But that seemingly automatic process depends on the orchestration of multiple areas of the vision system. They all need to work together seamlessly:

The cornea is the clear window into the eye. It does most of the focusing of incoming light.

The lens is behind the pupil. It also helps focus light onto the retina.

Muscles of the eye -- extraocular muscles -- rotate the eye.

Nerves carry visual information from the eyes to the brain.

The brain is where several areas process visual information from the eyes.

Double vision can certainly occur with no other symptoms, and you’ll know if you are experiencing it; but depending on the underlying cause of diplopia, other symptoms may be present, such as:

Misalignment of one or both eyes, such as a wandering eye or a cross-eyed appearance

Pain when moving one or both eyes

Discomfort or pain around the eyes, such as in the temples or eyebrows

Headache

Nausea

Weakness in the eyes 

Droopy eyelids

Prevention of double vision relies on prevention of the underlying causes of the vision issue. Here are a few tips to keep your eyes healthy:

Control your diabetes – Patients with diabetes who follow treatment plans have a lower risk of developing double vision. Also, since Diabetes Type II can develop as a result of lifestyle, people who eat a healthy and balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy bodyweight are much less likely to develop diabetes and subsequently double vision.

Prevent the development of cataracts – Keep your eyes healthy and avoid cataracts by wearing sunglasses, refraining from smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

Soothe dry eyes – Keeping your eyes well lubricated can help prevent double vision. Also, try to minimize eye strain from prolonged computer use which can lead to dry eyes.

Protect yourself from head injuries – Prevent head injuries by wearing a seatbelt in the car, a good helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, and appropriate headgear and glasses when using large machinery and playing sports.