What are the causes and remedies for double vision?

Symptom Database

Double vision, also known as diplopia, is a vision problem that causes a person to see two images of a single object. This condition can be quite distressing and can significantly impact a person’s daily life. In this article, we will explore the causes of double vision and discuss various remedies and treatments available to alleviate this condition.

Causes of Double Vision

Double vision can occur due to various underlying causes. Some common causes include:

  • Eye muscle imbalance: When the muscles that control eye movement do not work together properly, it can result in double vision.
  • Refractive errors: Conditions such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness can cause double vision.
  • Eye conditions: Certain eye conditions like cataracts, dry eyes, or glaucoma can lead to double vision.
  • Neurological conditions: Conditions affecting the nerves or brain, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, can cause double vision.
  • Injury or trauma: Head injuries or trauma to the eye area can result in double vision.

Symptoms of Double Vision

Double vision can manifest in different ways, depending on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms include:

  • Seeing two images of a single object
  • Images appearing side by side, vertically, or diagonally
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain or discomfort
  • Headaches

Treatment for Double Vision

The treatment for double vision depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common remedies and treatments:

Corrective Lenses

If refractive errors are causing double vision, wearing corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses can help improve vision and alleviate the problem.

Eye Muscle Exercises

For individuals with eye muscle imbalance, performing specific exercises can help strengthen the muscles and improve binocular vision. These exercises may involve focusing on a target and moving it in different directions while keeping both eyes aligned.


In cases where double vision is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis, medication may be prescribed to manage the condition and reduce symptoms.


In some instances, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying issue causing double vision. This could involve procedures to realign the eye muscles or remove obstructions such as cataracts.

Double Vision Exercises

Performing specific exercises can help alleviate double vision symptoms and improve eye coordination. Here are some exercises that can be beneficial:

Pencil Push-ups

Hold a pencil at arm’s length and focus on the tip. Slowly bring the pencil closer to your nose while maintaining focus. Stop when you see double and hold for a few seconds. Then, move the pencil away until you see a single image again. Repeat this exercise several times a day.

Near-Far Shifting

Choose two objects, one near and one far. Focus on the near object for a few seconds, then shift your focus to the far object. Repeat this exercise multiple times, gradually increasing the distance between the objects.

Eye Patching

In cases where double vision occurs in one eye, patching the affected eye can help alleviate the symptoms. This forces the brain to rely on the stronger eye, reducing the occurrence of double vision.

Preventing Double Vision

While not all causes of double vision can be prevented, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk:

  • Protect your eyes: Wear appropriate eye protection when engaging in activities that pose a risk of eye injury.
  • Manage underlying conditions: If you have an underlying medical condition that increases the risk of double vision, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage the condition effectively.
  • Regular eye exams: Schedule regular eye exams to detect any refractive errors or eye conditions early on.
  • Take breaks: If you spend long periods focusing on a screen or performing close-up work, take regular breaks to rest your eyes and reduce eye strain.

In conclusion, double vision can be caused by various factors, including eye muscle imbalance, refractive errors, eye conditions, neurological conditions, or injury. The treatment options range from wearing corrective lenses to performing eye exercises, taking medication, or undergoing surgery. By understanding the causes and remedies for double vision, individuals experiencing this condition can seek appropriate treatment and improve their quality of life.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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