Double Vision: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Double vision means seeing two images instead of one. To see normally, your eyes, the muscles that move them, the nerves that send images to your brain, and your brain all have to work together. A problem with any of these parts can cause double vision.

Double vision can occur in one or both eyes. It can be horizontal (so the images appear side by side) or vertical (so one image appears above the other).

Double vision may be caused by a muscle or nerve problem. Or it may be caused by an eye problem such as a cataract or by a brain problem such as a stroke. When the cause is found, double vision can usually be corrected.

To find the cause, you may need tests. These may include blood tests and imaging tests such as MRI. You may need to follow up with an eye doctor or a brain specialist (neurologist) for more testing or treatment.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not drive or do other things that could be dangerous because of your double vision.
  • Make your home safe to help prevent injuries. For example, remove throw rugs and electrical cords that could cause falls. Be extra careful when you work with sharp tools or knives.
  • Ask another adult to stay with you until your vision gets better.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have vision changes.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.