Double vision, or diplopia, can be disorienting and is a problem that should not be ignored. Although many causes of double vision are relatively minor in nature, it can also be a symptom of more serious problems. In some cases, double vision can be the result of structural problems with parts of the eye, such as the cornea, lens and muscles. Other additional reasons for double vision can include head injuries or nerve problems.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Cooper and Rachael Cooper, one of the most common reasons for double vision is misalignment of the eyes. This condition is called binocular diplopia. Since single image vision is the result of images from both eyes, when the eyes are misaligned, the images do not line up in the brain and the result is double vision or blurred images.
According to Dr. Louie Chang of WebMD, when there are problems with the cornea of one eye, double vision may be the result. When that eye is covered up, then the double vision issue disappears. Causes of cornea problems can include herpes zoster or shingles, which cause the cornea to become distorted or complications from LASIK surgery which leave the cornea altered.
Dr. Chang indicates that the most common cause of double vision and lens problems is cataracts. Cataract is not uncommon among elderly people and involves the clouding over of the lens of the eye. The lens is the structure in the eye that allows it to focus and make images clear. If cataracts are present in both eyes, double vision is the result. Fortunately, this condition can easily be resolved with minor surgery to remove the cataracts.
Head injuries can result in concussion and double vision. According to Dr. Cooper and Rachel Cooper, head injuries may resolve themselves with time and healing, but double vision may be a disorienting and disabling affect of the injury. For severe injuries, surgery may be required to remove potential blood clots or repair damaged nerves. However, the majority of minor concussions will resolve on their own.
There are several severe and serious conditions that can result in double vision. According to Dr. Chang these include multiple sclerosis, diabetes and Guilliane-Barre disease. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive illness that affects the central nervous system, including the nerves of the eyes. Diabetes is an autoimmune system disorder in which abnormally high blood sugar levels can destroy nerves of the eyes, resulting in double vision. Finally, Guilliane-Barre disease is progressive nerve condition in which the first symptoms are double vision.