Double vision, or binocular diplopia, is a condition that is much more common in older adults than it is in children. Since children are not as verbal about the problems they are having, it can be somewhat difficult to diagnose double vision in children. Once it has been diagnosed, the treatment is pretty straightforward and can be done with the help of an experienced pediatric ophthalmologist.
Why is double vision harmful?
Double vision can result in some trouble for children. The brain does not process both parts of the double vision – as a result, the eye will start trying to suppress one of its images and ignore the signals that are coming from one of the eyes. Over time, double vision that is not treated properly can result in blindness in one eye.
What causes double vision?
Double vision is most often a result of the angles of the eyes being set differently. This is a congenital issue and occurs during the development in the womb, in infancy, or while the child is growing. The eyes may be forming properly, but simply forming at different places within the eye socket. An injury to the head or other trauma to the eye can also cause a child to have double vision. This is a less common occurrence, but can happen when the eyeball is disrupted enough to become “rattled” away from the sockets and tendons that hold it in place.
How is double vision diagnosed?
Children, especially ones who have been suffering from double vision since infancy, may not be able to verbally identify that they are suffering from double vision. In children, it is most often discovered during a routine eye exam. It may not even be noticeable during this time and may only be found when the child goes to school and is not able to see the chalkboard or the papers in the same way that the other children can.
What are the symptoms and treatments of double vision?
The most common symptom of a child who is having double vision is a lot of squinting. If they are constantly squeezing their eyes or are not able to identify small things without squinting, double vision may be to blame. Treatments include glasses, eye patches and, in some extreme cases, surgery to the tendons that hold the eyes into place to arrange them both at the same angle.