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June 16, 2007 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Why can't I stop seeing double?

For the last week I have had double vision. I have a ophthalmologist appointment next week, but can anyone shed some light on this in the meantime? It's freaking me out.

I am nearsighted (4.25/3.5) and have strabismus in my right eye; they patched it when I was a baby, and it tracks objects to the front and my right, but not to my left (it rolls up all wonky and Paris Hilton-style). I have always been able to make myself see double by consciously relaxing my eye, but I typically do not see that way.

Three weeks ago I got new, more powerful contacts, with no problems or worsening of vision that I recall. Over the weekend I wore my new, stronger glasses for the first time. I wore them all weekend. Before this I had not worn glasses for more than a couple of hours in about five years. It felt kind of weird, but I could see. On Monday I started wearing my new contacts again and have had progressively worse double vision all week, to to the point where I could not focus on a single line of text in print or screen without shadowy ghosts slipping in and out. It is worse with my contacts than with my glasses, and least bad with nothing, but it's still present even then. It seems to worsen as the day goes on. Near objects are more likely to double dramatically than faraway ones. If I close one eye, everything is awesome, except the no-depth-perception part.

My optometrist said that he doesn't get what's going on; he tried prisms in his office yesterday, which should have helped, but that made the doubling worse.

Other information:
-I have migraines, but my head doesn't hurt. I take Imitrex as needed when it does and Skelaxin for muscle tension in my neck and shoulders as needed.
-My job requires me to read printed or screen text constantly. I am doing that for about 10-12 hours per day.
-I do not have any history of epilepsy, although I did faint once when I had the flu.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I rarely wear my glasses, maybe once every few months and during the first day of wearing them I find that I have something similar happens.

Are you sure that the prescription on your glasses is right? Did they measure the distance between your eyes?..As if the center of the glasses (don't know the exact name is) is not in the correct position it could affect your vision.
posted by wilde at 9:36 PM on June 16, 2007

Did they measure the distance between your eyes?..As if the center of the glasses (don't know the exact name is)...

wilde is referring to pupillary distance.
posted by amyms at 9:45 PM on June 16, 2007

Thanks amyms.

I should have been able to wing the name, it's pretty self-explanatory.
posted by wilde at 9:52 PM on June 16, 2007

No problem, wilde... I used to work for an optometrist... And yes, an incorrect pupillary distance on a new pair of glasses can cause major problems... But, the asker says she's/he's experiencing the double vision with glasses AND contacts, so something else is clearly (no pun intended) going wrong...

Anonymous, it's good that you've got an opthalmologist AND and optometrist working with you. They both do different things, and if you can get them working together, they should be able to sort out your problems (which could be caused by numerous things ~ sometimes it's something as simple as giving yourself time to get used to your new prescription). Good luck!
posted by amyms at 10:06 PM on June 16, 2007

I had a double vision problem (things in the distance split in half and doubled), but prisms in my lenses solved the problem. You mentioned that the optometrist tried prisms and they didn't help. An opthamologist will hopefully be able to solve the mystery for you (mine was an eye muscle problem). If it turns out that prisms ultimately correct your vision, please be aware that they can't put them in contact lenses.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:10 PM on June 16, 2007

When it happened to me, it was keratoconus.
posted by 4ster at 11:09 PM on June 16, 2007

You don't mention whether you are female or not, but almost the exact same thing happened to me when I was pregnant. Went away after the baby was born.
posted by beachhead2 at 11:05 AM on June 17, 2007

You mention you can have double vision at will by relaxing your muscles; I take this to mean you must maintain a constant level of muscle tension in your right eye in order to prevent double vision.

Is it possible that the new contacts and glasses have made you feel more tension in your neck and shoulders than usual, and that you have therefore increased your Skelaxin intake beyond your usual amount, which has in turn, since it is a muscle relaxant, made it impossible for you to keep up the muscle tension in the muscles controlling your right eye enough to prevent double vision from developing? has this to say about muscle relaxants including Skelaxin:

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Blurred or double vision or any change in vision; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness.

posted by jamjam at 2:20 PM on June 17, 2007

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