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Eye and Vision Care

Double Vision?

05/24/2010

Question:

Hello! I have worn glasses and contacts for almost ten years now for nearsightedness. My eyes have done this for as long as I can remember so I don`t know if this is normal or if it really is a problem. I have never asked my eye doctor because it`s been so normal to me I forget it happens until I actually think about it. Anyway, when I focus on something up close, say my hand, I see two objects in the background, say my television. Even though I am not specifically focusing on the tv in the distance, in my peripheal (sp?) vision there is an overlapping and almost double vision of the tv. When I shift my focus from my hand, the near object, to the distant object, my tv, I then see two hands (the near object). Is this normal? When I close one eye I only see one of each object. Is there a problem with the way my eyes work together? This doesn`t affect my vision at all or anything that I do, but was just curious. Thank you so much! Again I`m just curious because my eyes have done this for as long as I can remember. Thank you!

Answer:

You are very observant, and what you are experiencing is completely normal. This is called physiologic diplopia, meaning that the visual system will perceive double vision when you look at objects from different distances. 

Your description of looking at a near object and seeing a distant object as double and the reverse situation where one looks at a distant object and sees a near object as double are the exact occasions when this shows up. It is due to overlapping visual fields.

When you close an eye, you eliminate the image seen from one eye, therefore eliminating the chance of seeing double images.      

Hopefully, this answers your question.


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Response by:

Aaron  Zimmerman, OD, MS Aaron Zimmerman, OD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University