Double vision, cause and treatment

Double vision, double vision or diplopia is the perception of two images next to, above or diagonally from each other when in reality only one image is visible. This is often caused by damage to a nerve or the eye muscle, but can also occur due to the use of alcohol. Several other causes are known. Double vision can be treated by removing the underlying cause. Most people not only see double images, but also have other complaints such as nausea or headache.

Double vision or diplopia

Another name for double vision is diplopia. With this phenomenon, one sees an object or a person twice or in two places at the same time, while sitting is not actually the case. Everyone suffers from double vision sometimes. The cause is often innocent and temporary, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs daily or continuously. However, double vision often does not occur in people who squint, because these people suppress the image of one of the eyes. This creates only one image that is registered. However, people who turn their eyes towards each other to deliberately squint do see double. People are not yet used to strabismus and two images are created instead of one.


The cause may be temporary such as fatigue. When tired, the eyes may feel burning, become red and vision may become blurred or mucus may form in the eye. Double vision is also common with fatigue. Another cause is the use of alcohol. People who are not used to alcohol are particularly likely to suffer from this. The use of medications or drugs can also cause this problem. If this complaint occurs when taking medication, it is advisable to consult the package leaflet or ask the doctor or pharmacist for advice.
As mentioned before, strabismus is not always the cause. People who have only had strabismus for a short time do have this problem. When strabismus has existed for some time, the brain is able to switch off the image of one eye, so that only one image is recorded. Double vision often occurs when strabismus has been treated and the eyes are working ‘normally’ again. It is then that the adapted brain is no longer able to translate the normal image. The cause may also lie in the eye muscles. When one of the eye muscles does not work sufficiently, double vision is sometimes the result. In addition, double vision can occur after a fall or a blow to the head. Head injury/damage to the brain may then occur. The double vision can be temporary but also permanent depending on the damage that has been done. Diabetes can also cause double vision, as can the disease multiple sclerosis. Migraines are also a trigger: in addition to severe headaches, many patients also suffer from double vision. Failure of certain nerves also causes double vision. This can occur in one eye or both.
Double vision is also sometimes observed in glasses wearers. The brain is able to transform normal images from the two eyes separately into one image. If the two incoming images differ too much in size, the brain can no longer process this and shows two separate images, double vision. Glasses are often the cause of this because they distort the images individually.


With double vision we see two images that are close to each other and are the same. If we look at a single vase, we see this vase placed twice next to each other. The images can also be placed one above the other or even diagonally. The images often overlap. This partly depends on the distance of the object or person. Double vision is often not the only symptom. Nausea is often present and sometimes also headaches.
Double vision occurs both crossed and uncrossed. Crossed double vision occurs because, for example, the left eye does not follow the movement. When the right eye looks to the left, the left eye remains straight ahead. The right eye therefore crosses the image of the left eye that looks forward. With uncrossed double vision, both eyes move in the same direction.


The treatment depends on the cause. Migraine is treated with medication, but many patients still suffer from double vision. If the cause is alcohol or drugs, the solution is obvious: stop taking them. The doctor or pharmacist must always be notified when using medication. This may prescribe other medications. For strabismus, treatment can include covering a lazy eye or eye muscle surgery. If a specific nerve fails, it must first be determined which nerve it is. Sometimes surgery makes sense.

read more

  • Strabismus or squinting
  • Night blindness: eye condition
  • Lazy eye: cause and treatment
  • Vitreous opacity or Mouches Volantes in the eye
  • The eye, accommodation
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