Double Vision

Double vision means that you are seeing one object as two. The object may be seen from side to side, up and down, or at an angle. There are two main categories of double vision: when one eye is affected (monocular), or when both eyes are affected (binocular). The best way to tell the difference is to close each eye in turn. If the double vision goes away when you close one eye, it is 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)
  • Prior surgery around the eye (binocular)
  • Disease in the brain (binocular)

Further testing is needed to determine the cause of your double vision. Because a serious disease may be present, it is important that you follow up as advised.

Home care

  • Double vision will affect your ability to judge distance. This means it will be harder to drive. Do not 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 health care provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur.

  • Redness, rash, or swelling around the eye
  • Sinus or facial pain
  • Severe headache
  • Extreme drowsiness or confusion
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Weakness in the muscles of the face, arms, or legs
  • Difficulty with vision, speech, or walking