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Double Vision

Opening your eyes and seeing a single, clear image is something you
probably take for granted. If you start seeing double images when your eyes
normally work well together, you should take it seriously. While double
vision (also called diplopia) may be temporary, you should still schedule an
eye exam with your eye doctor to find out what's going on.

Double vision can occur by itself with no other symptoms. Depending on the
cause, other symptoms may be present with double vision, such as:

Misalignment of one or both eyes (a "wandering eye" or "cross-eyed"


appearance)
Pain with eye movements in one or both eyes
Pain around the eyes, such as in the temples or eyebrows
Headache
Nausea
Weakness in the eyes or anywhere else
Droopy eyelids

These symptoms may not necessarily mean that you have double vision.
However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye
doctor for a comprehensive exam.

Double vision may be the result of a refractive error, where light from an
object is split into two images by a defect in your eye's optical system.
Cataracts might, for example, cause such a defect.

Double vision also may result from failure of both eyes to point at the object
being viewed, a condition referred to as ocular misalignment. In normal
vision, both eyes look at the same object. The images seen by both eyes are
fused into a single picture by the brain. If your eyes do not point at the same
object, the image seen by each eye is different and cannot be fused. This
results in double vision.

Your doctor will most likely use multiple methods to diagnose the cause for
double vision. Blood tests, a physical exam, and possibly imaging studies
like computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging are frequently
used.

With double vision, the most important step is to identify and treat the
underlying cause. In some cases, double vision can be improved by managing
or correcting its cause. If double vision can't be reversed, treatments can help
people live with double vision. In certain circumstances this may require
wearing an eye patch or special prism glasses to minimize the effect of
double vision.