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Ask Dr. Julie: When Is Double Vision Serious?

double vision

On this segment of Ask Dr. Julie, I have a really great topic to talk about today. When is double vision serious? Let’s show you what is double vision. Well, if you are reading and suddenly the print blurs or doubles up, or even looks like it’s sliding off of the page or is wiggling around, that is double vision. When is it serious versus when is it kind of not really a problem? Well, it’s important for you to know the difference because the difference between the two might mean that you need to go get care right away versus maybe you don’t need to get care right away. For instance, if you’ve had double vision for a lot of years, “Oh, I’ve had double vision that I have seen off and on for the last 25 years.” Well, that’s not probably something being super serious.

However, I still say, go see your eye doctor. Have that looked at, find out what’s the cause for it if you don’t already know and do something about it. But let’s say that you happen to wake up all of a sudden one morning and you look off and you’re like, “Oh, wow. I’ve never seen double there before, or that’s never been doubled before.” Or what if you’re driving down the road and all of a sudden you see multiple lanes and that’s never happened before? What if you don’t feel well? You’re feeling really bad?  You think, “I feel green, my heart’s racing, or I feel sick. I feel like I’m going to throw up. Or I feel like I could just faint and pass out,” and you see double.

Those are instances where you think, “I woke up with it. All of a sudden I saw it. I’m feeling really bad, health-wise, my body’s not feeling good, I’m feeling sick. I feel like my heart’s doing something unusual.” Those are all kinds of circumstances that you need to be going, “Uh-oh, I need to go see my doctor.”  Whenever you have those sorts of circumstances, I’d even suggest going to the ER. Don’t just go straight to your general doctor because those could be very serious signs. You don’t want to mess around with those. A lot of things could be happening. One of them could be that you could potentially be having a stroke or you could be having a cardiovascular incident with your heart that’s causing it, or a blood vessel or something else in the body and the brain. There are multiple things that could be going on and I won’t go into all of those details, but don’t ignore those.

These are all circumstances you do not want to play off, pass off, just kind of go, “Yeah, let’s just wait and see what happens.” No, don’t do that.

So what’s another circumstance or a situation in which you might not be all that concerned? Let’s just say that you’ve been reading for 16 hours straight, or maybe you’ve been doing all of your homework online or all of your work online during all this pandemic that’s going on. Maybe you are like, “Oh, my gosh. I feel like I’m seeing double.” Okay. Go have that checked out. But that’s not necessarily the circumstance, especially if it goes away and you never have it again.  It’s not necessarily a circumstance that you need to be super worried about.

It’s the ones where you’re like, “This happens suddenly. Why is this happening suddenly? I’m not feeling so good.” Remember all of those things. So again, please take them with seriousness. If you do happen to have issues associated with a stroke, a convergence problem, strabismus, or after working on a computer for a long period you see double for a bit then it goes away once you rest your eyes – those are all situations that we can still help you with. Go to, fill out the questionnaire on the home page.

Once you fill out that questionnaire, it will send information back to us. We can contact you and find out if you’re a good candidate for us to help you. Or you can give us a call if you want to just call our office at (618)-288-1489. But again, if it’s an emergency, go to your ER. Don’t just sit and wait it out and see what’s going to happen. We don’t want that to happen for you and we want you to take it just as seriously as you should for your health.