Diplopia (Double Vission)

Diplopia, also referred to a double vision, is a rare condition which is caused from paralysis or weakness of the ophthalmocytic muscle. It is the ocular condition where an individual, whilst trying to focus on an object, sees two identical objects. For example, whilst looking at a pencil, the individual will see two pencils instead of one. One is usually fainter than the other, and can be more or less above or below the first instance of the object. This condition is usually accompanied by intense dizziness and headache.

Who does it affect and why?

double visionDiplopia can occur at any age, but more often affects the elderly. It can be caused by a sudden brain aneurysm and is associated with headaches and other neurological symptoms. It can also be caused by diabetes mellitus, hypertension, stroke, brain tumors, temporal arteritis, myasthenia, and arteriosclerosis.

If it occurs in the first 15 years of an individual's life it may be due to an infection or an eye injury. During the ages 20-45 the main cause of diplopia is multiple sclerosis, but can also occur from trauma to the eye muscles.

Prevention

There isn't really any way to prevent double vision. When there is evidence of it though, we should intervene immediately to avoid any difficulties that mature diplopia brings to the surgery.

Treatment

Initially, it has to be determined whether diplopia is monocleftal, ie if diplopia remains when one eye is closed and the other open, or bipolar.

  • Single ocular diplopia: is not of a neurological nature. It is usually caused by high astigmatism due to keratoconus and/or cataracts. In most cases it is treated with glasses, contact lenses, and only sometimes is surgery needed.
  • Bipolar diplopia: it is very likely that it is a neurological disease and needs further neurological examination by a specialist neurologist. If the damage caused by diplopia is not restored within 6 months then it can be treated surgically.