Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I can see clearly out of either eye but when I look out of both eyes, I have double vision. It is like looking through binoculars when you see two images as you cannot get the eyepieces exactly right. What could cause this?

Answer:
You may have binocular diplopia, which occurs when there is misalignment of the two eyes. Normally, the brain controls the muscles which move the eyes to make them focus simultaneously on the same subject. The cause may lie in the brain, orbit (eye socket), or the muscles themselves. There may or may not be pain, drooping of the eyelids, unequal pupils, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, seizures, vomiting or other associated symptoms. The double vision may be vertical, horizontal, torsional, constant, intermittent, worse at the end of the day, or vary depending upon where you are looking. In any event, if the symptoms are recent, see an ophthalmologist immediately. Most comprehensive ophthalmologists see and evaluate these problems. They may send you for blood tests, MRIs, etc., or refer you to a neurologist, neuro-ophthalmologist, internist or pediatric ophthalmologist, depending upon the findings. Causes include diabetes, thyroid disorders, trauma, brain tumors, myasthenia gravis and hundreds of other causes. Sometimes no cause is found and prisms in your eyeglasses can give relief. Please let us know how you make out.

Answered by: Richard G. Shugarman, MDDr. Richard Shugarman

Categories: Eye Diseases, Eye Injuries, General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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