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Diplopia after lasek surgery

Have you been experiencing episodes of double vision — seeing multiple images of a single object — and wondering what is behind the issue? Also called diplopia, double vision is often temporary and not related to any serious underlying condition. However, it should never be ignored and if it occurs with regularity, you should discuss the occurrences with your eye doctor. Your eyes function independently from one another (for example if you close one eye you can still see out the other) meaning that each eye captures its own set of images that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. It’s important to note that double vision doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll see two clear images. Oftentimes “double” simply means blurred vision. For example, you may see “ghost” images, which is a type of image blur that causes objects to appear almost transparent because of the image overlay. But if the diplopia is long-lasting or keeps coming back, reasons for it can include:

  • Stroke, head injury, brain tumor, brain swelling or brain aneurysm
  • Corneal irregularities
  • Severe dry eyes
  • Cataracts
  • Cranial nerve palsies
  • Refractive surgery

If you have had LASIK, PRK, or any refractive surgery to help you see better without glasses or contacts, you may experience some double or ghost imaging because of changes to your corneas. An irregular corneal surface, caused by the surgery itself or by dryness, may cause light rays to scatter instead of focusing properly.

This problem usually clears up within weeks or months. But you may need to use eye drops for a while. In some cases, a second laser vision correction procedure might be necessary.

Epithelial ingrowth. This is when cells from the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) grow under the flap after LASIK surgery. In most cases, epithelial ingrowth is self-limiting and causes no problems. But in some cases (reported to be 1 to 2 percent of LASIK procedures), symptoms of discomfort and/or blurred vision can occur, and additional surgery is needed to lift the flap and remove the epithelial cells.


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