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Find an Ophthalmologist. Academy Store. Double vision is seeing two, often overlapping, images of a single object. Recent Ask an Ophthalmologist Answers Can my retinal thinning be a sign of cognitive decline? Can my nerve damage be related to my strabismus? Will Humira affect eyes with wet macular degeneration? Can I get IOLs with prism correction? Does scuba diving or snorkeling cause glaucoma?

Ophthalmology

Advanced Search. Wernicke syndrome. Disorders that block eye motion. Graves disease thickening of muscles and tissues around the eye—called infiltrative ophthalmopathy—that occurs most often in people who also have an overactive thyroid gland and rarely occurs in people with a normal thyroid gland. Bulging of the eyes, often eye pain or irritation, watering, sensitivity to light, an enlarged thyroid gland goiter , and thickened skin on the shins.

Tumors near the base of the skull, the sinuses, or the eye socket, called orbital tumors. Often pain unrelated to eye movement, bulging of one eye, and sometimes other symptoms of nervous system dysfunction.


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Features mentioned are typical but not always present. Some causes of double vision are minor, but some can be very serious. The following information can help people know when to see a doctor and what to expect during the evaluation. In people with double vision, certain symptoms and characteristics are cause for concern. They include. Any symptoms besides double vision that could represent nervous system dysfunction for example, weakness or paralysis, numbness, speech or language problems, trouble swallowing or walking, vertigo, headache, incontinence, or clumsiness.

Double vision should always be evaluated by a doctor even if it is temporary. People who have warning signs should be evaluated by a doctor right away, usually in an emergency department. All people who have double vision, even if it has resolved, should see a doctor as soon as convenient, usually within a few days. Doctors first ask questions about the person's symptoms and medical history. Doctors then do a physical examination. What they find during the medical history and physical examination helps suggest a cause of the double vision and any tests that need to be done see Table: Some Causes of Double Vision When Both Eyes Are Open.

Seeing Double? Get Your Vision Checked Promptly – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Doctors want to know whether double vision involves one or both eyes and whether it is constant or comes and goes. They also ask whether the images are side by side or on top of one another and whether double vision tends to occur only when the person is gazing in a particular direction.

Treating double vision

Doctors ask about any pain, numbness of the forehead or cheek, facial weakness, vertigo, and swallowing or speech problems because these symptoms may indicate a cranial nerve problem. Doctors also ask about symptoms of other nervous system problems and symptoms of other disorders.

The most important part of the physical examination is the eye examination.

Binocular Diplopia

Doctors check the person's vision. They also carefully look for bulging of one or both eyes and a drooping eyelid and check how the pupils respond to light. They check the eyes' movements by asking the person to follow their finger as it moves up and down and far to the right and to the left. Doctors then use a slit lamp an instrument that enables a doctor to examine the eye under high magnification and ophthalmoscopy to examine the internal structures of the eyes. Symptoms and examination findings can provide helpful information about which causes are most likely. For example, if double vision comes and goes and there are other symptoms of possible nervous system dysfunction, myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis are among the likely causes.

If the eyes do not point in the same direction, the direction of gaze in which double vision occurs sometimes indicates which cranial nerve is dysfunctional. People with double vision in one eye usually are referred to an ophthalmologist a medical doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment—surgical and nonsurgical—of eye disorders. Testing is not needed before the person is referred. The ophthalmologist examines the person's eyes carefully for eye disorders. In people with double vision affecting both eyes, more testing is often needed because many disorders may cause binocular double vision.

Tests depend on what doctors find during the history and physical examination. Most people require imaging with magnetic resonance imaging MRI or computed tomography CT to detect abnormalities of the eye socket orbit , skull, brain or spinal cord. Imaging may need to be done right away if doctors think an infection, an aneurysm, or a stroke is the cause of double vision.

In people with symptoms of Graves disease such as bulging of the eyes, eye pain, watering, and an enlarged thyroid gland , thyroid tests serum thyroxine [T 4 ] and thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] levels are done. Testing for myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis may be needed, particularly if double vision comes and goes. Not all people require testing. Some cases of double vision clear up without treatment. If symptoms and examination findings suggest no serious cause, doctors may recommend that the person's eyes be checked regularly for a few weeks to see whether the vision clears up before they recommend any testing.

People with double vision plus sudden or severe pain, injury, or symptoms of nervous system dysfunction should usually go to an emergency department. The most important part of the examination is the eye examination, but usually imaging is needed. Merck and Co. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world.

Double Vision IT

The Manual was first published in as a service to the community. Learn more about our commitment to Global Medical Knowledge. Common Health Topics. Warning signs When to see a doctor What the doctor does Testing.


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Key Points. Test your knowledge. Cavernous sinus thrombosis CST is a very rare disorder in which a blood clot thrombosis forms in the cavernous sinus a large vein at the base of the skull. CST can cause seizures, coma, and abnormal sensations and muscle weakness if the bacteria causing CST spreads to which area of the body?

Macular degeneration, commonly referred to as ARMD or age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of blindness in some countries.


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