Seeing repeat tops of letters.

I’m undiagnosed, but been advised that 2nd attack will confirm ms. Ive just written a phone number with a black pen on a piece of White paper. When I was writing it & looked at what I had written I can see the top of the letter appearing above it again. I told my neuro about this a couple of weeks ago & I said that’s not normal is it & he said he’s not worried about it. Shall I believe this & take his word for it?


I would suggest a trip to the opticians and get your eyes checked over as he would be able to say if something is amiss and also be able to refer you if necessary. My eyes go blurry with ms from time to time but not as you have described. Hope you get this cleared up quickly. Take care.



I agree with Janet. If the optician isn’t terribly helpful, see your GP to get a referral to ophthalmology.

It sounds like double vision which is usually caused by an inbalance of eye muscles. It can be corrected by adding prisms to the lenses in your glasses. It’s pretty common.

Karen x

I second what Karen said - it sounds like double vision. Double vision can be caused by lots of things (even pre-existing eye problems) but MS can also cause an inbalance in the eye muscles. I would definitely see an optician/GP sounds like you need to be referred to an Ophthalmologist potentially. It’s important to get these things on record particularly if this might be counted as a second attack of symptoms.

Good luck and hopefully it’s just a false alarm.



Thank you for your messages. When I went to the opticians in september my eyes were ok apart from needing glasses for long distance due to one eye. But I did have (excuse me if I say this wrong) I did have astigmatism in both eyes where their shaped like rugby balls rather than being round. Could this cause it do you know?

Astigmatism can cause blurring or distortion but not seeing two images. Is everything still looking doubled/overlapped? If so have a look one eye at time does it still appear doubled/overlapped if it does then it could be your glasses or vision. If covering each eye makes the doubling go away then it’s more likely to be double vision due to an imbalance of the muscles. Either way I would still seek professional advice - sight and eyes are very important.

Best of luck




Thanks reemz. It’s not all the time & it’s not the whole of the letter or word it’s just the top. If I keep staring at it it goes away & the word returns to normal. I will have to try closing either eye but by the time I do that it probably would have returned to normal anyway. I’m gonna try not to worry about it as I’m trying to put my trust in the neuro but I think I will go off to the opticians again x

i havent been diagnosed yet but i get double vision, blurred vision and dizziness at times. Have had an eye test at the opticiansopticians, a visit to the eye infirmary and still no one knows why it happens!

Hi app666

What you have is double vision, just like Karen says.
Technically it is called Diplopia, and yes, it is the two sets of eye muscles not quite working together. Astigmatism is the muscles of an eye pulling the eyeball out of round.
I prefer the term “seeing a second image”, because "double vision can have serious effects on your driving licence.

What you need to sort out for yourself is:
Is it close up (I guess that you have answered that)?
Is it at distance - (this can be the big one)?
In which direction is it (I guess that you have answered that as well)?

Upwards or downwards can be dealt with by making glasses with a prism effect lens.
The stick-on prism (technically a thin film Fresnel lens) is good for sideways/close up, if you wear bifocals; they can also make reading glasses with a lateral prism effect.
What you really do not want is a stick-on Fresnel lens on distance (or single vision) glasses - because this can affect your vision when driving (bye bye licence).

It is nothing to do with your neuro (but it is quite common with MS), and you need to start with your local Optometrist (Optician to you), if they cannot prescribe a lens to cure the effect (and mostly they stick to the “up or down diplopia”) they should give you a letter to your GP asking that you be referred to the Orthoptic dept in your nearest District Hospital. They will be able to come up with a fix (but don’t hold your breath).

Hope this helps


Hi Geoff, thanks for your reply. I’m finding it’s looking at writing at a normal distance, eg when writing something or reading something. Not noticed it at a long distance. It seems that the tops of words sort of stretch. This isn’t all the time though. The only glasses I needed in September was for long distance & that was only one eye but I was told the astigmatism was in both eyes. So I’m assuming I don’t need glasses all the time? I will go to the opticians but do you think it’s due to the astigmatisms & not true ms double vision. The neuro has made me think this is ok & to ignore it.

Just to add to what Geoff said distance double vision can be corrected with prisms (particulalrly if it’s horizontal) and as long as at distance/ far distance things remain single you are fine to drive (even with a plastic fresnel stick on). You do have to be more wary if driving long journeys and of course if the double is to one particular side be cautious of moving your head to look rather than your eyes.


Don’t ignore it.
It is most unlikely to be down to your astigmatism.
It sounds like you will be wearing reading glasses and one lens will be cut with a slight prism effect.

With astigmatism, each eye is focussed in the same place, but the eyes are slightly out of round (makes a football look like a rugby ball).

With diplopia,one eye focusses in the correct part of the retina, and the other eye is a bit off. It is fairly easy for an optometrist to determine which eye is wrong, and very easy for an orthoptist to find out.

If you get the correct reading (or close-up) glasses, you will be surprised just how much better it make your vision.