Diplopia or double vision is when a person sees two separate or overlapping images of the same object. If the episodes of double vision are temporary, it can be due to multiple reasons such as being extremely tired or drinking too much alcohol. Such short-term double vision isn’t something to worry about usually. However, repeated episodes or long-lasting diplopia can be due to certain serious reasons such as a tumor or cranial nerve palsies.
This article helps you understand the different types of diplopia, its causes and can Lasik surgery cure it or not.
What are the Different Types of Diplopia?
Diplopia or double vision is generally classified into three types:
- Horizontal diplopia – In this case the two images are separated horizontally
- Vertical diplopia – In this case one image appears to be higher than the other
- Monocular diplopia – In this case, double vision persists in one eye when the other eye is closed. This is because the light rays split up as they pass through the eye.
What are the Causes of Double Vision?
If there are repeated episodes of diplopia or it is long-lasting, it may be due to the following reasons:
- Eye Conditions – Certain eye health issues such as cataracts, keratoconus or even severely dry eyes can be a cause of double vision. In fact, a majority of cases of monocular diplopia are caused by such eye problems.
- Cranial Nerve Palsies – Paralysis or loss of coordination of one or more muscles that control the position and teaming of the eyes occurs due to a condition known as cranial nerve palsy. This condition is also known to cause diplopia. Tumor, meningitis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, head injury, blockage in an artery or an aneurysm or high blood pressure are some of the factors responsible for cranial nerve palsies.
- Refractive Surgery – Any type of refractive surgery such as PRK or Lasik performed to help you see better without contact lenses or glasses can also cause diplopia. This is mainly because of the changes in the cornea. Hence, an irregular corneal surface or dryness due to surgery may cause light rays to scatter instead of being focused properly. Such double vision caused by refractive surgery generally clears up within weeks or months. However, in some cases, a second laser vision correction surgery might be necessary.
- Other Factors – Brain or head injury, stroke, tumor or any other such factors can cause diplopia.
Can Lasik Treat Double Vision?
The treatment of double vision depends entirely on what type of diplopia it is and its causes. The most commonly occurring form of double vision, i.e. horizontal and vertical diplopia cannot be treated with Lasik. However, the less common form – monocular diplopia can be treated with Lasik. This is because it mostly involves irregularities of the cornea which results in double vision.
Hence, a laser surgery such as PRK or Lasik might help rectify the irregularities in the cornea enough to reduce the monocular diplopia.
Remember, repeated or long-lasting diplopia or double vision may indicate the presence of some severe health problems. Hence, if you too are experiencing double vision, its best to consult your ophthalmologist today.