Double Vision

Had some instances of double vision on Monday which I’d like to ask about. My close vision seems to have deteriorated significantly just lately. Trying to focus in order to read some text I noticed that briefly the lettering was doubled with each letter overlapping itself, one being down and to the right of the other. I say briefly but I was in a dynamic sort of situation (teaching) where I was not able to take stock, so not sure how long this really affected my vision. Later that day I glanced at another document where the text was in the top half of the sheet and realised that I was seeing some other text some way down into the blank area of the page. What puzzles me is the doubled images could not have been close to each other. Makes me wonder if I imagined it, as I cant envisage as to how this could happen unless one of my eyes went completely out of line with the other. Anybody know if this can happen? Same day I also noticed I was being revisited by a cluster of body jerks which Have only had very occasionally since a bad period several months ago. Also I could not seem to focus mentally and had to abandon helping my son with a homework task because of this. Not diagnosed by the way.

Hi Bob

I know when I’m very tired my vision can go a bit funny - it’s like my eyes cant move at the speed I want them to. I had some double vision a few years ago too, and saw an opthalmologist who gave some exercises to do which really helped.

The two main exercises I did would be easy for you to try. The first one involved a strip of card about 9 inches long with a line down the middle and a dot on it every inch & a half or so. I had to hold the card horizontally under my nose so that it pointed away fromme, parallel to the ground. I would have to look at the dot furthest away and try and make it so that I saw just one dot. When I’d done that I’d look away for a few seconds and then do the same thing with the next nearest dot, I’d have to repeat this for each dot until I couldn’t do it any more.

The other exercise was very similar. I’d hold my my arm straight out in front of me and point my finger up. I’d look at my finger and try to make it so I only saw one finger. Then I’d look away for a few seconds, bring my finger a bit closer to me and then repeat. I’d keep doing this, bringing my finger a bit closer each time.

I’d do these a few times a day. I was warned that I might find the double vision would get worse at first, but that was perfectly normal. It’s just like starting going to the gym for the first time - because the muscles have never been exercised like this before, they’ll naturally be very tired at first. But they’ll start to build up their strength, and then you should start to see an improvement. I only needed to do them for a week or so and I found that I didn’t get the double vision any more.

I hope that helps.


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Happened to me about twenty years ago just after diagnosis just used to cover one eye for a while when problematic it went away when I got glasses shortly afterwards.


OK, this is called Diplopia.

It can be that the muscles that control the eyeballs are not working in synchronisation with each other, or the muscles that focus the eyes are not working in synchronisation, or that there is a problem with the nerves that control the muscles (either set), or in the part of the brain that uses the nerves to control the muscles.

Your local high-street optometrist should be able to sort this - from the description you have given - with a prism lens (or lenses), either as a stick-on, or as “made that way” lenses. It has to be quite extreme before you need a visit to the Orthoptics department of your District Hospital. My wife needed help from Orthoptics for her Diplopia, mine was sorted in the High Street.

The exercises quoted by Dan may work, depending on the cause of the problem, but I would be reluctant to try them unless a professional advised on them - I rely on my eyes too much to take a chance.


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I have had two relapses when I had double vision, both times I recovered fully after about six weeks. An eye patch will give you single vision but you must alternate the eye every so often so as not to cause eye strain.

Of course it’s good to have your eyes checked just in case it’s something else.

Hope you feel better soon.

Jan x


diplopia can be a symptom of ms. This and nystagmus are 2 common ms eye problems. One is double vision and the other is related to eye movement.

the symptom, like many with ms can come and go. Exercise can help as Dan explains.

all the best


Thanks for the info. Just wonder if anyone can verify or account for the two images being so far apart.

When my double vision was at its peak I had two separate images, I found it less of a strain and easier to see as I could ignore (almost) one image, when they overlapped it was harder to see. If that makes sense.

Jan x

I have just posted on the primary progressive page RE making use of your optician, my advice is to pop along to your optician because I got so much help and a ice and I couldn’t believe how well informed he was on MS!

Very much worth a trip!

I went in because I broke my glasses, and I got prism glasses for distance now and prism reading glasses that I never needed before and he found swelling of optic neuritis and you can’t underestimate they’re knowledge.

I’m 38 and it’s all happened really quite quickly, I had initially got the sticky lens from the hospital but my double vision is there all the time as Dr Geoff said and was explained to me yesterday my nerves are not sending the right messages to my muscles in my eyes.

Good luck

Polly xxx

The temporary fix of a patch over one eye works! However:

1 - You still need to find out which eye is causing the problem and you need specialist help for that.

2 - Do NOT use a black patch, (Yes, I know that most of the cheap ones are black) but make yourself a translucent one. The logic for this is the same as switching the patch from one eye to the other at regular intervals. If you have different amounts of light reaching each eye, you are placing a different loading on the muscles of each eye which is not going to help with the original problem.

We found out about a lot of the “translucent/black” problems in the target shooting world about 3 or 4 decades back. If you do not mind looking a total numpty, you can try a baseball cap or even a headband with a strip of white card tucked into it and hanging down in front of the eye. It is not practical for more than a couple of hours, but it can be a quick way to test the method.


I can just imagine the reaction to that one (baseball cap) Geoff. Actually it has not happened again since Monday, so I’m hoping it wont come back.


ah Geof a fellow target shooter i actually found it improved my scores at 20yds though the lastime i went i hit 98 bench rest and 94 free standing wearing a black patch a neck brace and a weighted glove , im in the dilema of shoot or not shoot now as free standing my scores are okay but it hurts so much the next day and bench rest bores me a tad as im sat down for that and all the others are freestanding and i hate the focus it brings on me being different though we are shooting 2 different disciplines i wanna stand up with me pals but i shake soooo much it hurts

As for the double vision ive been instructed to wear my black patch for everything apart from sitting and always for riding or driving or my insurance is invalid , was a bit weird at first amd even now i keep walking into the door frames around home and im sure the folks we meet think my wife must be made getting on the back with a eye patched rider as they know im mad

Id like to say the DBL vision gets better but im 20 months since my total loss of sight in my left eye and now im left with like someone holding something just in front of my eye and its enough to create the DBL vision

Hope yours gets better Mr Bowen

Respect sheep


I only get double vision when tired or looking at things not immediately in front of me. So watching a rugby or football match is impossible. Changing the focal distance helped. Peripheral vision also badly affected

If you have persistent double vision check out things re driving licence. I do not drive at all these days.