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The Causes of Double Vision


vision therapy can help treat double vision

Double vision, or diplopia, occurs when your eyes don’t work as a team.  When your visual system is working correctly, both eyes should point in the same direction at an object.  Your eyes see two different images, which your brain combines to produce a single, 3D image.

If your eyes are not pointed at the same spot, your brain won’t be able to combine them effectively.  You’ll then experience double vision.  You may feel nauseous, dizzy and have trouble keeping your balance.  

Experiencing double vision is no picnic, and in some cases, it can be quite scary.  Once you understand the root causes of double vision, however, you can work with an eye care professional to find an appropriate treatment.

Living with double vision

Double vision can range in its severity.  If you only experience a small amount of double-vision, you may only notice a slight shadowing effect.  At the other end of the spectrum, significant double vision will result in two distinct images. 

Generally, the more fatigued someone becomes, the worse the double vision will be.

Surprisingly, people who have double vision can learn to live with it.  It’s not entirely comfortable, but there are many stories of people who find ways to adapt and function in society, despite their double vision. 

What are the causes of double vision?

A number of different conditions contribute to double vision:


Strabismus occurs when one of the eyes is turned inward, outward, up or down.  Not all types of strabismus will cause double vision, but some do. 

Head trauma

People with brain injuries often see double to some degree, as head traumas can cause strabismus and double vision.


Presbyopia is a Greek work that literally means “old eyes”.  It occurs at the age when a person needs reading glasses.  Generally, as people age, any long-standing vision problems that have been compensated for will start to emerge as the visual system breaks down.  Double vision may result.

Convergence insufficiency or convergence excess

A more mild case of double vision can be related to these conditions, both of which are related to the eyes’ ability to team. The double vision typically occurs for near vision, such as when reading. Many people describe the double vision as “the words move around on the page” rather than noticing that the words are splitting apart.

What can be done to correct double vision?

Please note that anyone who is experiencing a recent onset of double vision needs to be evaluated by an eye care professional or neurologist immediately.  A sudden onset of double-vision could be a sign of pathology in the brain.

Once any pathology has been ruled out or treated, you can then begin to explore other types of treatment.  A very effective treatment for double vision is optometric vision therapy.  Through a series of activities, vision therapy can help you gradually retrain your eyes to work together.

 Vision therapy is a treatment designed to work on the underlying problem and, in best cases, eliminate it. Other forms of treatment designed to compensate for the problem include prism glasses and occlusion (covering an eye or part of the vision for an eye).

 At The Vision Therapy Center, the doctors have special training in prescribing the most effective glasses, such as prism glasses, and/or occlusion for best functioning. These treatments can be used alone or in conjunction with vision therapy for the best outcome.

Keep in mind that the amount that double vision can be reduced will depend on your visual condition.  A functional vision test is the first step in determining the extent of your double vision, and what types of treatment can be used to correct it.

(Photo by Koonisutra)

 The Vision and Learning Guide from The Vision Therapy Center. Learn how undetected vision problems can impact a child's ability to learn.  Download your free Vision and Learning Guide.

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The Vision Therapy Center has helped over 2,000 people overcome vision problems since 1995, and has Wisconsin vision therapy offices in Brookfield and Madison.



what can we do staying at hope to cure this eye defect....expecting some solutions(some eye exercises or therapy).....
Posted @ Sunday, September 04, 2011 10:42 PM by ultimate god
There are some at-home therapies, but every case is different. It's best to have a functional vision test performed to accurately assess your issue. Here's more on a Functional Vision Test. 
Posted @ Wednesday, September 07, 2011 10:31 AM by Greg Mischio
Can vision therapy help with double vision after a stroke? What are the percentages of normal vision?
Posted @ Friday, October 28, 2011 4:51 AM by Nancy Bippert
Nancy - sorry it so long to respond to your comment. Yes, vision therapy can help stroke victims. Check out our latest post on the subject. 
Posted @ Friday, December 02, 2011 9:22 AM by Greg Mischio
i have done operation for double vision but the problem still occur especially with climbing stair case and looking down. what can i do again, as a young 20plus of age and painfull with this kind of problem.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:47 AM by rej
We would recommend you see a developmental optometrist and get a functional vision test. Do you know of any in your area? If not, I can check with Dr. Knueppel to see if she has some connections in the UK>
Posted @ Thursday, March 22, 2012 12:30 PM by Greg Mischio
I do not have double vision all the time. I espically have it when driving. The white lies go all over the road and me with them sometimes!! lol If I sit up straight in bed I see fine, as soon as I lay back I really have to concentrate my eyes to focus. I just recently saw an optometrist an have new glasses. He said I did not need the prism. I do have astigmatism and am myopic. I am going to see him again in Aril when my vision ins goes through. I just need a second opinion here. I see fine with close. I can feel my eyes when I am in a car, they seem to be trying to keep things straight. Please help and I thank you ever so much mari ana
Posted @ Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:28 PM by mair ana biossat
Any time someone is experiencing double vision, whether constant or intermittent, it is an indication to see a behavioral or developmental optometrist for a functional vision exam.
Posted @ Friday, May 11, 2012 11:24 AM by Brandon Begotka
i had brain bleed in back side mid brain which super imposed its effect on my left eye. 
and it caused double vision n weakness. 
i am undergoing treatment n eating tablets. 
i have asked for eye exercise to move eye ball ( concentrate ) on a object top middle bottom middle left middle right middle n object point towards nose tip n to move eye in same way. 
Posted @ Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:46 AM by irfan
We would need to see you to evaluate your situation. If you live in Wisconsin, please visit our to schedule an appointment. If you're outside Wisconsin, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 26, 2013 8:56 AM by Greg Mischio
I was told by my optician that i need prism glasses i only had one or two episodes of double vision . I was tired when it happened .It was ok when i closed one eye. Im worried that i have something sinister wrong with me .
Posted @ Saturday, April 13, 2013 1:04 PM by Barbara cress
I'm sorry we can accurately answer your question without conducting an examination. I'd suggest you find a developmental optometrist in your area, as we don't have an office in the UK. Refer to some of my responses above for links to a dev. opt.
Posted @ Sunday, April 14, 2013 8:13 AM by Greg Mischio
I have been experiencing double vision (vertical) in both eyes since getting hit in back of head in Feb. Been gradually worsening daily. Had ct scan and MRI. Been to neurologist..he says not my brain its my eyes. Been to eye Dr six times two sets of lenses and still not helping. Drs at office...3 of them that I've seen literally said they thought I was making it up. I am ar my wits end!! Any suggestions of who I could see would be helpful. I'm in northwest pa.
Posted @ Thursday, May 09, 2013 8:58 PM by Lori Anthony
Lori - We would need to see you to evaluate your situation. Here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Friday, May 10, 2013 2:14 PM by Greg Mischio
when i go out of my home and walk on the road side i feel imbalance.i was standing in a row to buy ticket then i feel dizziness that time..when i focus to see any object it seems shaking left right and vibrating..why is happening tell me??
Posted @ Monday, May 13, 2013 5:37 AM by Amit
Amit, we would need to see you to tell if we can help you. If you're in Wisconsin, please contact our office for an appointment. Otherwise, refer to the response I left for Lori in the comment right above yours.
Posted @ Monday, May 13, 2013 2:54 PM by Greg Mischio
I had a mass of blood vessels removed from my brain 3 weeks ago. I was left with a trembling left arm and double vision that's gradually gtting better but It greatly impairs my hability to walk. I start vision therapy tomorrow and hopefully It will help get better faster. I'll keep you posted with my avances in this new journey. I need to be patinet. I know I've Belén very lucky .
Posted @ Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:49 PM by Victoria
Good luck Victoria!
Posted @ Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:21 PM by Greg Mischio
Hi, I have double vision in both eyes but only observable when I look at an aircraft in the distance. I see two images one above the other even when I close one eye. I have had this condition for several months.
Posted @ Sunday, June 02, 2013 11:45 PM by Nev Derry
Hi, we may be able help you if you live in Wisconsin. If you do, please make an appointment with us by contacting us Otherwise, please see some of my responses in early comments for links on how to find a developmental optometrist.
Posted @ Monday, June 03, 2013 5:15 PM by Greg Mischio
My Dr said that your double vision will come back to normal vision. But she didn't tell me after how long. 
Any body can tell me how long after my vision become normal.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:40 PM by balvir singh bhachu
I have double vision. Most of what I've read is true. What's weird is that I'm the only one in my family that has it. I have no idea if I've had it my whole life, but it became an issue around when I was 6 or 7. I'm almost 13 now. It's not fun. It can sometimes be irritating. It sometimes gives me headaches. But I've learned to live with it. Im going to eye therapy for the first time this week. If I don't get it somewhat fixed now, there's a possibility I will get a lazy eye when I get older.
Posted @ Sunday, July 14, 2013 8:44 PM by Alyssa
Yesterday I had a sudden onset of a massive double vision that lasted about 5 minutes. The eye images were way off from each other. One eye by itself was fine. I closed my eyes for a bit, then slowly opened them squinting and my normal vision came back. I ended up going to the ER for tests. An MRI showed all was fine. I will see an eye Dr and Neuroligist next. I have tested positive for siezure activity (EEG) even though I've never had one. I do sometimes get faint, as if about to pass out. The vision issue I'm guessing related to that. It does feel sometimes like my brain is not really in very good control of things (if that makes sense). A sort of disorientation occurs, maybe as if my brain or awareness is somewhat removed from my body.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 23, 2013 9:56 PM by Roger
hi, i have double vision because of standing iof the computer for long time and i see ghost image near the real image only in far distances but in close distances i dont see any ghost images could this be temperary ? is it true that i need only rest and it ll be fixed plz help
Posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 12:40 PM by khalil
We would need to schedule a functional vision exam to determine if we can help you. If you can't visit us here in Wisconsin, here's a link to an article on how to find a developmental optometrist in your area.
Posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 10:41 AM by Greg Mischio
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