Diplopia, commonly known as double vision, is the simultaneous perception of two images of a single object that may be displaced horizontally, vertically, or diagonally (i.e. both vertically and horizontally) in relation to each other. It is usually the result of impaired function of extraocular muscles (EOM’s), where both eyes are still functional but they cannot converge to target the desired object. Problems with EOM’s may be due to mechanical problems, disorders of neuromuscular junction, disorders of the nerves (III, IV, VI) that stimulate the muscles, and occasionally ingestion of toxins.
Diplopia is often one of the first signs of systemic disorders, particularly to a muscular or neurological process, and it may disrupt a person’s balance, movement, and/or reading abilities.
Efforts must first be made to identify and treat the underlying cause of the problem. Thorough evaluation by a Strabismus or squint specialist is a must. Treatment options include eye exercises, wearing an eye patch, prism correction and in more extreme situations, surgery or botox.
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