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Seeing Double? Common Causes for Double Vision in the Elderly

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Double vision is a symptom that can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. Commonly experienced by the elderly population, double vision can often be effectively treated. But first, you’ll need a comprehensive eye exam to identify the cause. Contact our experienced eye doctors at Village Eye Centre, located conveniently in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton, and Sherwood Park, Alberta.

Types of double vision

Officially called diplopia, double vision can be either monocular or binocular. Monocular double vision occurs in each eye separately, whereas binocular double vision is only experienced when both eyes are open. It’s important to check which kind you have, because binocular double vision can result from some serious neurologic problems. In contrast, monocular double vision is not considered dangerous.

To check which type of double vision you have, close each eye separately and look around. If you have monocular double vision, you’ll still see duplicate images out of one eye. But with binocular double vision, you won’t see duplicate views at all.

Monocular double vision & the common causes

This vision condition generally looks like a shadow of an image overlapping with the primary image. It can affect either eye or both eyes at the same time. Dry eye syndrome is the most typical cause, because the tear film on your eye surface becomes uneven. Fortunately, artificial tears eye drops typically clear up this type of double vision.

Other causes of monocular double vision:

  • Cataract
  • Retinal disease
  • Irregular cornea
  • Eyeglasses in the wrong prescription, bent glasses frames, or scratched lenses
  • Binocular double vision & the common causes

A misalignment of your eyes is the most usual culprit for binocular diplopia. This vision condition pushes the images from each eye off slightly, so you see two images. Often, these two images are totally distinct from each other – with space in between them. Treatment of binocular double vision can involve using prisms in your glasses to help realign the images so they join into one. Covering one eye with a patch can also be helpful. Referral to a surgeon for correction of the misalignment may also be appropriate.

Conditions that may cause binocular double vision:

  • Previous eye trauma
  • Stroke
  • Systemic disorders

If you suddenly develop binocular double vision, contact your physician immediately. Some causes of this problem can be dangerous neurological conditions.

Eye exams are necessary for treating double vision

The only way to reliably determine which type of double vision you’re experiencing is by having a complete eye exam by a qualified eye doctor. Once the cause is known, the best personalized treatment plan can be designed. Contact our experienced professionals at our eye care centres in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton, and Sherwood Park, Alberta.


At Village Eye Centre, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 587-410-5920 or book an appointment online to see one of our North Edmonton eye doctors.

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