Philip Walsh - Do I need glasses for double vision?

Publish Date
Friday, 1 September 2017, 11:39AM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By Philip Walsh

Double vision, also known as diplopia, is caused by a number of factors and the treatment will largely depend on the cause of the condition. The double vision can be horizontal (side by side), vertical (images appear on top of one another) or oblique (a combination of the two). Glasses are a common form of vision correction for diplopia.

The first step to correct treatment is determining whether the double vision occurs in just one eye (monocular), or both eyes (binocular). If the underlying cause differs for each eye, they will likely need to be treated separately.

Problems can occur in the cornea, the lens, the muscles of the eye, nerves leading to the brain, or even the brain itself, can cause double vision. In the cornea, there could be an abnormality which distorts the light coming in, leading to double vision. This can come from an infection in the cornea, a scar or even dryness.

In the lens, cataracts are often the reason behind double vision. Minor surgery is often a way of dealing with this issue by removing cataracts. If the cause is in the muscles of the eye, it can often mean that one eye does not move as well as the healthy eye, which might appear as diplopia.

Many of these issues are dealt with by prescription for glasses; however some of the issues, such as those caused by problems in the nerve or brain may take a more serious approach. The best course of action is to start with an accurate diagnosis of just where the problem is in the eye structure and what the condition is before looking at treatment options.  Consult your optometrist if you are experiencing double vision.

For more information and to book an eye exam, visit

About Philip 

Philip is an experienced optometrist with a Bachelor of Optometry from Auckland University. He’s worked in the UK, Zimbabwe and is now the Optometrist Director at the Specsavers New Lynn store in Auckland, one of 52 Specsavers stores across the country. 

Improving access for all Kiwis to high-quality eye care and eyewear is Philip’s passion. What he loves about his role at Specsavers is providing all his patients with excellent customer service and professional eye care with the latest technology and knowledgeable well-trained staff.

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