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Can Cataracts Cause Double Vision?

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A point of view of a person with double vision looking at a cat.

Double vision, also known as diplopia, is a condition in which a single object appears blurry or duplicated. Double vision can be a symptom of many eye disorders, including cataracts. As light enters your eye, it gets scattered by the cataract, leading to multiple incomplete images. It’s like seeing two or more versions of the same object.

This kind of double vision is often monocular, meaning it causes multiple images in one eye, not both. You might see double even when you’re only using one eye.

Cataracts are a common eye problem among older adults and can cause significant vision loss without proper treatment. 

At Foothill Optometric Group, our optometrists can prescribe glasses or contact lenses to address refractive errors caused by cataracts. However, it’s critical to understand that as the condition progresses, it could significantly deteriorate your vision quality.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which affects vision. They occur when protein clumps together and interferes with the lens’s clarity, causing vision to become blurry, hazy, or less colorful. Age-related cataracts are the most common type and can develop gradually over time.

Cataracts can only be treated via surgery. If you’re deemed a suitable candidate for cataract surgery, our optometrists can refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Can Cataracts Cause Double Vision?

Cataracts, by themselves, do not usually cause double vision. However, if the cataract grows large enough, it can cause vision to become distorted or double. 

This happens because the clouding of the lens scatters light as it enters the eye, creating two or more images of the same object on the retina. 

Double vision caused by cataracts tends to be more apparent when looking at bright lights or close-up objects.

Other Causes of Double Vision

Aside from cataracts, other eye conditions that can cause double vision include: 

  • Cornea problems: The cornea is the clear front surface of your eye, and any issues here can distort the light coming into your eye, causing double vision. Some common cornea problems include astigmatism, dry eyes, infections like shingles, and scars from disease, injury, or infection.
  • Eye muscle problems: 6 muscles in your eye socket control your eye’s movements. If these muscles have issues, like weakness or paralysis, it can cause one eye to move out of sync with the other, leading to double vision. Conditions like Graves’ disease and strabismus (misaligned eyes) can lead to such muscle problems.
  • Nerve problems: Certain cranial nerves connect your brain to your eye muscles. Conditions like diabetes and Guillain-Barre syndrome can damage these nerves and cause double vision.
  • Brain problems: Several areas in your brain process visual information from your eyes. Illness or injury to these areas can result in double vision. Brain aneurysms, tumors, migraines, and strokes are examples of conditions that can lead to double vision.
  • Giant cell arteritis: This condition occurs when the arteries near your temples become inflamed, reducing blood flow. This can affect the vessels that nourish your eyes, which can cause double vision, among other symptoms.

Treatment Options

When cataracts cause double vision, cataract surgery is often the most effective solution. The surgeon removes the cloudy natural lens and replaces it with an artificial one, potentially restoring clarity to the patient’s vision. 

However, if other eye conditions are causing double vision, different treatments may be necessary. Doctors may prescribe prism lenses, which correct vision by bending light to hit the right spot on the retina. 

Alternatively, eye muscle surgery might be recommended, strengthening a weaker muscle to improve eye coordination. Botox injections have been used in some cases to relax a stronger eye muscle, allowing a weaker one to recover and improve double vision. Simple solutions also exist, such as using an eye patch to block vision from one eye, reducing the effect of double vision.

A young man jogging in place in his living room as a part of his exercise routine.


While cataracts are often a part of the natural aging process, you can still do a lot to help prevent them and reduce your risk of developing double vision.

One of the best things you can do is protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Wearing sunglasses and applying sunblock on the skin around your eyes can help with this. 

It’s also important to eat a diet that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Foods high in vitamins C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to help prevent cataracts.

Regular eye exams are crucial too, as they can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages when they’re often easier to treat.

If you’re a smoker, quitting can significantly reduce your risk of developing cataracts.

Unveiling the Link Between Cataracts & Double Vision

While cataracts alone do not generally cause double vision, they can contribute to distorted or double vision if left untreated. 

If you’re experiencing changes in your vision, it’s essential to schedule an eye exam with your optometrist at Foothill Optometric Group

With early detection and proper treatment, cataracts and other eye conditions that cause double vision can be effectively managed, allowing you to see the world clearly.

Written by Total Vision

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