Many times patients complain of sudden onset of double vision. This finding can be of great concern and requires immediate attention.
You may be wondering, what causes double vision? There are two distinct types of double vision.
Monocular Diplopia occurs when one eye is covered and the other sees two images. This type of diplopia is usually caused by a defect in the cornea or lens. In some cases it can be caused by swelling of the retina. Often, a condition called Keratoconus contributes to this situation. Other times, it may simply be uncorrected astigmatism. In the least likely of situations, it is caused by retinal swelling.
Binocular Diplopia is a condition where the two eyes see two objects. When one eye is covered the double vision vanishes. When this type of double vision occurs without warning it is often caused by a stroke or diabetes leading to nerve damage. In less frequent situations, blunt trauma can cause damage to a muscle, resulting in seeing two objects. This damage may be transient or permanent.
Monocular diplopia is treated by glasses or in some cases special contact lenses. These help focus the image on the retina resulting in a single image.
Binocular diplopia is treated by first ensuring that the underlying cause has been thoroughly investigated. Once all medical issues have been addressed prism or occlusion can be prescribed to deal with the double vision.