The condition of fibromyalgia- or fibro- has many different symptoms, which could possibly include weakened eye muscles and double vision.
When you open your eyes and you see a single, clear image you may take it for granted. However, the truth is this process, which seems to be automatic is actually dependent upon orchestrating of multiple areas of your vision system. All of these need to work together in perfect harmony.
- Your cornea is the clear window into your eye and does the majority of the focusing of light coming in.
- The lens is located behind your pupil and helps to focus light into your retina.
- The muscles of your eyes, which are known as extraocular muscles, are there to help your eye to rotate.
- Nerves carry the visual information to your brain from your eyes.
- Your brain is where several areas come together to process visual information that come from your eyes.
If there is any disconnect at all with any parts of this system, it can result in double vision.
Following are some of the most common visual problems associated with the condition of fibro:
Cornea problems: in many cases, issues with the cornea often result in double vision in only one of your eyes. When you cover the affected eye, the vision will go away.
If your cornea has a symmetrical shape, it’s possible that eyeglasses may correct the double vision in one eye, due to the fact that double vision is typically caused by the surface of the eye being abnormal and therefore distorting the incoming light. Abnormal vision can occur in several different ways:
- The most common reason for double vision is keratoconus when the abnormality is not corrected with prescription eyeglasses.
- The cornea can be distorted by infections such as herpes simplex or herpes zoster.
- The cornea can be scarred, which creates inequality in visual images.
- Dry eyes can cause double vision.
Lens problems: the most common lens problem that results in double vision is cataracts. If you have cataracts in both eyes, vision in both of your eyes will be distorted. In most cases, cataracts can be corrected with surgery.
Muscle problems: if you have one eye in which the muscles are weakened, that eye will not be able to move as smoothly as the eye that is healthy.
When you gaze in directions that are controlled by your weak eye, it can result in double vision.
Following are several reasons for eye muscle problems:
- Your neurological system may not be functioning properly.
- An autoimmune illness known as myasthenia gravis can block muscle stimulation. The earliest signs of this condition are drooping eyelids and double vision.
- A thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease can have an effect on the muscles of the eyes. This condition typically results in vertical diplopia, which means that one image will be on top of the other.
Nerve problems: there are several different conditions that can cause damage to the nerves controlling eye muscles and result in double vision.
- The condition of multiple sclerosis can have an effect on the nerves anywhere in the spinal cord or brain- if the nerves that control your eyes are damaged, it can result in double vision.
- The condition of Guillain-Barre can result in progressive eye weakness- typically the first signs and symptoms of this condition can result in double vision.
- Nerve damage can be done to eye muscles by the condition of diabetes, which can lead to double vision.
Brain problems: the nerves that control your eyes are directly connected to your brain. Visual processing is done in your brain and there are many different causes for double vision that start with the brain, including:
- Brain tumors
- Increased pressure in the brain
- Migraine headaches
Symptoms of Double Vision
The condition of double vision can occur alone or in conjunction with other symptoms/conditions. Depending upon the cause, there are other symptoms that may occur with double vision, including the following:
- Droopy eyelids
- Pain with eye movements
- Eye weakness
- Misalignment of one or both of your eyes
- Pain around the eyes
Diagnosing Double Vision
If you have double vision that is a new symptom that can’t be explained, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Since there are so many possible causes for the condition of double vision, it is critical that you discover the reason for it as soon as you can.
Your physician will most likely be using multiple methods to reach a diagnosis for your double vision. He or she will likely use methods such as a physical exam, imaging studies such as MRI or CT, or even blood tests.
However, one of the most effective diagnostic tools for this condition is the information that you give your physician. You can help your physician reach a diagnosis by answering the following questions:
- Were you in an accident?
- When did it start?
- Does it get worse when you’re tired or at the end of the day?
- Are there any other symptoms?
- Did you hit your head or become unconscious for any reason?
- Do you tend to tilt your head to one side or the other?
- Is one image on top of the other or are they side by side?
- Are they diagonal? Is one higher than the other?
- Does covering one of your eyes make it better?
- Is one image blurry and one clear?
- Is the double vision worse at any particular clock position? Is it better at any particular clock position?
When you have double vision, it is critical that you identify and treat the cause. In some cases, it can be improved by simply correcting or managing the cause. Following are some ways to treat your double vision:
- Surgery may help if weak eye muscles are the cause of your double vision.
- You can treat myasthenia gravis with medications.
- You can treat Graves’ disease with medical therapy or surgery.
- You can control diabetes with insulin or other medications.
If you are unable to reverse your double vision, you can still live with it by treating it, which may require special prism glasses or an eye patch.