Double Vision (Diplopia)

Double vision (diplopia) means that you are seeing 1 object as 2 images. The images may be seen side to side, up and down, or at an angle. There are 2 main types of double vision:

  • Monocular. Only one eye is affected.

  • Binocular. Both eyes are affected.

The best way to tell the difference is to close one eye at a time. If the double vision goes away when you close one eye, it's binocular double vision. If it does not go away, it is monocular double vision. Most monocular double vision is caused by certain diseases inside the eye. Most binocular double vision is from conditions outside the eye. There are many causes for double vision, including:

  • Disease inside the eye (monocular)

  • Problem with the muscles and nerves that control the movement of the eye (binocular)

  • Injury to the eye or bones around the eye (binocular)

  • Past surgery around the eye (binocular)

  • Disease in the brain (binocular)

More testing is needed to figure out the cause of your double vision. Because a serious disease may be present, it's important to follow up as advised.

Home care

  • Double vision will affect your ability to judge distance. This means it will be hard to drive. Don't drive until the problem is corrected.

  • If you were given a removable eye patch, wear it while awake. You may remove it at night to sleep.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider or get medical care right away if any of these occur:

  • Redness, rash, or swelling around the eye

  • Sinus or facial pain

  • Severe headache

  • A spinning feeling (vertigo)

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • Extreme drowsiness or confusion

  • Weakness in the face, arm, or leg muscles

  • Trouble with vision, speech, or walking

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