Double vision (diplopia) can occur after a traumatic brain injury, a stroke or certain types of surgery due to a disruption in the connection between the nerves and extraocular muscles that control the eyes’ position and movements.
Diplopia following brain surgery is usually temporary and can take a few days or weeks to resolve, depending on the source of the problem. In the meantime, people who suffer from double vision after an operation can benefit from specific glasses and neuro-optometric rehabilitation through eye exercises that help restore single vision.
What Causes Double Vision After Brain Surgery?
The brain is connected to the eyes through a network of nerves — including the optic nerve — that controls the movement and alignment of the eyes. These nerves can be impacted by brain disorders, tumors and strokes, or during brain cranial surgery. Brain surgeries can disrupt the connection between the brain and the eyes, resulting in the misalignment of the eyes and double vision.
Alternatively, the muscles surrounding the eyes that keep the eyes aligned and focused can be damaged during surgery, affecting their ability to perform accurately and effectively.
Ordinarily, having two eyes means the brain receives two images, which it converts into one single 3D image of the world. However, an injury to the eye muscles can cause an eye misalignment, making it impossible for the brain to fuse the two images into one single, clear image — resulting in double vision.
What Are Other Symptoms of Damage to the Visual System?
Although the most obvious sign of damage to the visual system after brain surgery is double vision, patients may experience any of the symptoms below:
- Crossed eyes
- Pain when moving the eye
- Droopy eyelids
- Eye weakness
How to Treat Diplopia After Brain Surgery
There are several treatments for diplopia after brain surgery.
After an eye exam your eye doctor may prescribe prism glasses that work by altering the path of light rays and compensate for any misalignment of the two eyes. These lenses allow the brain to fuse the two images from the eyes to create a clear and single 3D view of the world around us.
Your eye doctor may recommend wearing an eye patch because it removes the second image from a weaker eye reaching the brain. Using a patch can temporarily remove the visual disturbance and prevent you from seeing double images, but is often not the best long-term solution. It is important to follow a precise regimen for eye patch wearing and not deviate from the instructions without first consulting your doctor.
One effective way to regain clear and comfortable vision after brain surgery is through neuro-optometric rehabilitation, which is a personalized eye exercise program that will strengthen the connection between the brain and your eye muscles, with the goal of improving your quality of life by regaining your clear 3D vision.
Following a functional vision evaluation to assess visual problems, your optometrist may prescribe customized exercises to re-establish the effective communication between your eyes and brain.
How Long Will It Take to Recover from Diplopia?
Usually, diplopia that develops following surgery is temporary, and with treatment, regular vision can be restored in days or weeks. In cases that persist, eye patching, prism glasses and neuro-optometric rehabilitation usually resolve diplopia within weeks or months. In rare cases, eye surgery may be required to correct diplopia.
If you are experiencing double vision after brain surgery, schedule an appointment with today.
Our practice serves patients from Houston, Bunkerhill Village, Bellaire, and Sugarland, Texas and surrounding communities.
A: All types of diplopia involve seeing two images, but there are different forms of diplopia, depending on the positioning.
- - Horizontal diplopia - images are separated laterally
- - Vertical diplopia - one image is higher than the other
- - Monocular diplopia - diplopia continues in one eye when the other is closed.
Monocular diplopia can be caused by conditions such as astigmatism, cataracts or keratoconus. Diplopia can be temporary, intermittent or constant.
A: Diplopia can be caused by the following: Brain trauma or brain tumor
- - Stroke
- - Eye problems like keratoconus, dry eye and cataracts
- - Brain surgery
- - Cranial nerve palsy
- - Eyestrain