What are the Different Causes of Double Vision?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Double vision, known to those in the medical community as diplopia, can be very disturbing and should always be taken seriously. While most cases are relatively mild, double vision can be a sign of something serious. Common causes of double vision include weak muscles in the eye, nerve damage, or, in more serious cases, double vision may be caused by problems with the brain. Double vision may be the only symptom or may be accompanied by other symptoms such as eye pain, nausea, or headache. Treatment may include the use of medications or surgical intervention, depending on the exact causes of double vision.

Problems with the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil, may be one of the possible causes of double vision. This problem can develop as the result of an infection or as a complication of eye surgery. The clouding of the eye, known as a cataract, may also be among the potential causes of double vision. A routine visit to an eye specialist can often detect these problems before they cause a significant impact on the ability to see clearly.


Weak eye muscles are another one of the potential causes of double vision. This muscle weakness may occur due to underlying medical conditions such as myasthenia gravis, or Grave's disease. In these situations, medications may be able to help correct the double vision, although surgery to repair the weakened muscles is often needed in order to prevent further damage.

Damage to the nerves supplying the eyes can also be among the causes of double vision. Diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis are known to affect the nerves and can cause many problems with sight, including the development of double vision. While medications and surgery may be appropriate choices in some cases, these diseases may lead to permanent eye damage and some degree of vision loss in addition to the double vision.

Among the most severe causes of double vision are various problems with the brain itself. A person who suffers from frequent migraine headaches may develop double vision as a result of the migraine. Those who have suffered a stroke or who have had a direct injury to the brain are prone to developing double vision. In the event of a traumatic brain injury that causes permanent brain damage, there may not always be a cure for symptoms such as double vision.


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