Low Vision Awareness Month: Aspirus provides information on understanding, addressing double vision

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health recently provided information on understanding and addressing double vision.

“Eyesight is a precious gift we rely on every day for tasks big and small,” Aspirus stated in a release. “From pouring morning coffee to driving to work, our eyes play a crucial role in navigating the world around us. However, for some, our eyes struggle to keep up with the demand, resulting in blurred or double vision by the end of the day.”

In recognition of Low Vision Awareness Month in February, Amanda Whipple, an occupational therapist specializing in low vision rehabilitation at Aspirus Plover Clinic, and Kaylin Kostuchowski, an occupational therapy graduate student at Carroll University completing her internship with Aspirus, are emphasizing the importance of acknowledging visual impairments that extend beyond traditional corrective measures like glasses, contacts, medicine or surgery.

Whipple and Kostuchowski. Photo courtesy of Aspirus.

“These impairments can significantly impact our ability to perform everyday tasks,” Whipple said. “For some, reading or performing close work can cause headaches, blurred or even double vision. There are many causes for these symptoms, but sometimes, it is a matter of the eye muscles not being strong enough to perform these tasks for as long as needed.”

Aspirus said double vision, or diplopia, can present in different forms, including side-by-side, overlapping or diagonal images.

Whipple and Kostuchowski identified the following common causes of double vision:

Muscle weakness: Fatigued eye muscles struggle to coordinate, resulting in blurred or doubled vision. This fatigue may also trigger headaches when the eyes exert themselves excessively.

Convergence insufficiency: Impaired nerve or muscle function can lead to the splitting of images. This condition, common in individuals with Parkinson’s disease or children with coordination difficulties, hampers the eyes’ ability to focus together, particularly on nearby objects.

“Convergence insufficiency is common in individuals with Parkinson’s disease or children facing coordination challenges,” Kostuchowski explained. “After trauma, like neurosurgery or concussion, one eye may tire and drift outward when trying to focus on an object, leading to blurred or double vision.”

Digital eye strain: Prolonged screen exposure can strain the eyes, resulting in blurred vision, diplopia or headaches. This has contributed to a rise in diagnoses of convergence insufficiency and diplopia in recent years.

“When children struggle with close tasks like reading or homework, it can interfere with their learning process,” Whipple stated. “Similarly, adults may encounter difficulties reading labels at the grocery story, managing their medications or paying their bills, affecting their daily routines.”

“To combat these challenges, low vision rehabilitation offers promising solutions,” Aspirus said. “It can help retrain the eyes and brain to work together more efficiently, strengthening visual pathways and enhancing daily tasks like reading, writing and driving.”

Whipple emphasized the importance of consulting an eye doctor before participating in low vision therapy, ensuring the eyes are healthy and ready for rehabilitation.

“If you feel that your visual impairments have been keeping you from living life to its fullest, reach out to a specially trained occupational therapist today to see the difference it can make,” Aspirus stated. 

To schedule an appointment with Whipple, call Aspirus Plover Clinic-Plover Road at 715-295-3800.

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