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Double vision (diplopia)

Double vision (also known as diplopia) can occur in multiple sclerosis when the nerve pathways that control eye movements are damaged. The vision in each eye is usually normal but the nerve damage means that the eyes are not aligned properly, so the vision messages from each eye are not coordinated and you experience a double image.

Problems with eyesight, including double vision, can be an early symptom of MS.

If you experience double vision as part of a relapse, it will often recover, partially or fully, and steroid treatment can help speed up the rate of recovery. To reduce the impact of double vision you can use a patch over one eye to block out one of the images. Temporary stick on prisms, known as Fresnel prisms, can be worn on your glasses to adjust the way light enters your eye to help realign the two images.

If you have long lasting double vision, botulinum toxin or surgery can be used to adjust the muscles that control vision to restore the symmetry of your eye position.

Last reviewed: April 2016
This page will be reviewed within three years

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