Double vision is referred to by eye doctors as diplopia. Diplopia occurs when the image from each eye does not come together, and the patient is left seeing two separate images of the same object. These two images often overlap, with one image to the side or slightly higher in relation to the other.
Having two eyes gives us the ability to superimpose two images and perceive depth in away that is not possible with one eye alone. In order to achieve binocular vision, our brain takes the images gained from each eye and fuses them together.
For binocular depth perception to take place, both of our eyes must aim at the same target. Because of the combination of the unique perspective of each eye relative to the other, we are able to track objects in motion and perceive depth using two superimposed images. Doctors refer to this as binocular fusion. Eye muscles control your eyes to keep them properly aligned on the same target.
The two images arrive simultaneous in the back of your brain, where your brain merges them into one three-dimensional picture. Doctors refer to this as ‘stereo vision’ or stereopsis.
Double vision occurs when your eyes do not aim at the same target or when your brain has trouble merging the two images.
Double vision can have many causes, some of which are very serious and potentially even life-threatening. Eye should ask careful questions about the nature and frequency of the double vision.
In many cases, double vision is a result of the visual system’s inability to keep up with the demand placed upon it. Many children with convergence insufficiency will start seeing double after reading for extended periods of time, or after a long day at school. Through the use of lenses, prisms, vision therapy or a combination, the majority of double vision cases are treatable.
How Vision Therapy Can Help
While healthy eyes are important to good vision, how you see is also a result of how you have learned to use your eyes since birth. A developmental optometrist can help your child learn better ways to use his eyes through visual exercises and lenses.
At Mountainview, our vision therapy program for children always starts with a comprehensive developmental vision evaluation. In addition to a visual acuity test, our developmental optometrists assess the child’s visual perception, eye focusing, eye tracking and eye teaming skills.
We then create an individualized therapy plan that fits the unique needs of your child. Our developmental optometrists use specialized computer and optical devices, including filters and lenses as part of our treatment plan.
Vision therapy helps the brain develop new visual skills. It also builds a strong connection between visual and cognitive ability, which are critical to be able to effectively read, learn, and pay attention.
If you or your child is experiencing double vision, call Mountainview Vision Therapy at 509-972-6688 to schedule an evaluation.