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What is Diplopia?

Diplopia is a term used to describe double vision, or seeing two images of a single object. There are many causes of diplopia. Some causes are relatively minor but others are very serious.

There are two types of diplopia:

  • Monocular – This type occurs in only one eye and continues when the unaffected eye is covered. It may be caused by a problem with the cornea, lens, or retina of the eye.
  • Binocular – This type is related to misalignment of the eyes and stops if either eye is covered. Any problem that affects the muscles around the eye, called the extraocular muscles, or the nerves controlling these muscles can cause binocular diplopia.

Symptoms of Diplopia

Diplopia is a symptom of another condition. Depending on its cause, diplopia may occur alone or in conjunction with a variety of symptoms. Contact a medical professional if you are having double vision.

Treatments for Diplopia

Treatment for diplopia depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, double vision may be corrected simply with contact lenses. In other cases, surgery may be necessary.

Additional Information

Who gets diplopia?

Because diplopia has many causes, it affects a wide variety of people.

Causes of binocular diplopia include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Trauma to eye muscles
  • Strabismus
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid eye disease (Graves’ disease)
  • Cranial nerve palsies

Causes of monocular diplopia include:

  • Astigmatism
  • Keratoconus
  • Pterygium
  • Cataracts
  • Dislocated lens
  • A mass or swelling in the eyelid
  • Dry eye
  • Retinal problems

How is diplopia diagnosed?

An eye examination alone can confirm the diagnosis of diplopia and determine whether it is monocular or binocular. To identify the cause of double vision, your doctor may use blood or imaging tests.

Additional Resources

Medscape | Diplopia

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