Double vision, also called diplopia, is a common vision issue. One study found that seeing double was the cause of about 850,000 visits to the doctor every year.
Double vision is what it sounds like it is: You look at one object but see two. Most of the time, the cause of double vision is not a serious one. In some cases, however, it can point to a life-threatening condition such as a stroke.
Therefore, if your child or spouse complains of seeing double, you should always see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Our highly skilled ophthalmologists and optometrists at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists want you to learn the basics about double vision.
Potential causes of double vision
A range of conditions can cause double vision, and your treatment plan depends on the issue. The list includes:
Your cornea is a clear layer that covers the eye. If it is misshapen or not working properly, it can lead to vision issues such as astigmatism or dry eye, which can cause double vision.
Eye muscle issues
In children, double vision is often caused by strabismus, also called cross-eyed or lazy eye. Strabismus comes about when your eyes are misaligned. Six muscles control your eye movement, and if a neurological or anatomical issue weakens or interferes with muscle control, your child may develop strabismus.
Your brain interprets signals sent through the optic nerve. If your child has experienced any brain trauma or has cranial nerve palsies, the brain may not be able to interpret these signals adequately. Additionally, double vision could be a symptom of a life-threatening brain condition such as a stroke or aneurysm.
Signs your child may be seeing double
Your child may not be able to communicate that they see double. For that matter, they may not even realize that something is wrong with their vision. As a parent, you should look out for the following signs that your child sees double, or is having any other vision issue.
- Rubbing their eyes frequently
- Complaining of headaches
- Having trouble reading
- Having difficulty paying attention in school
- Complaining of pain in one or both eyes
- Squinting or narrowing their eyes often
- Covering one eye to see
It’s always important to see an eye doctor if your child makes a complaint related to their eyes or vision.
If your child is showing signs of double vision, make an appointment at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists for a comprehensive eye exam. Call one of our three offices in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, or request an appointment online. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.