What Causes Double Vision?
Opening your eyes and seeing a single, clear image is something you probably take for granted. But that seemingly automatic process depends on the orchestration of multiple areas of the vision system. They all need to work together seamlessly:
- The cornea is the clear window into the eye. It does most of the focusing of incoming light.
- The lens is behind the pupil. It also helps focus light onto the retina.
- Muscles of the eye — extraocular muscles — rotate the eye.
- Nerves carry visual information from the eyes to the brain.
- The brain is where several areas process visual information from the eyes.
Problems with any part of the vision system can lead to double vision.
Cornea problems: Problems with the cornea often cause double vision in one eye only. Covering the affected eye makes the double vision go away. The abnormal surface of the eye distorts incoming light, causing double vision. Damage can happen in several ways:
- Infections of the cornea, such as herpes zoster, or shingles, can distort the cornea.
- Corneal scars can alter the cornea, creating unequal visual images.
- Dryness of the cornea can create double vision.
Lens problems: Cataracts are the most common problem with the lens that causes double vision. If cataracts are present in both eyes, images from both eyes will be distorted. Cataracts are often correctable with minor surgery.
Muscle problems. If a muscle in one eye is weak, that eye can’t move smoothly with the healthy eye.
Nerve problems: Several different conditions can damage the nerves that control eye muscles and lead to double vision:
- Multiple sclerosis can affect nerves anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. If the nerves controlling the eyes are damaged, double vision can result.
- Diabetes can lead to nerve damage affecting the muscles which move the eyes, causing double vision.
Brain problems: The nerves controlling the eyes connect directly to the brain. Further visual processing takes place inside the brain. Many different causes for double vision originate in the brain. They include:
- Increased pressure inside the brain from trauma, bleeding, or infection
- Brain tumors
- Migraine headaches
Read the original article on webmd.com
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