Coping with Diplophobia: Treating Fear of Double Vision

  • Time to read: 9 min.

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Diplophobia, or the fear of double vision, is a condition that affects many people around the world. It can be incredibly debilitating and have a significant impact on one’s life. In this blog article, we will explore what diplophobia is, its causes and symptoms, as well as treatments for those who suffer from it.

We will also discuss how to cope with living with diplophobia and discover how to support friends or family members who may be dealing with this phobia. By understanding more about this type of fear and its effects on sufferers, we can help create an environment where they can feel safe while managing their anxiety in healthy ways.

What is Diplophobia (Fear of Double Vision)?

If you’ve ever experienced double vision, you know how disorienting and frustrating it can be. But for those who suffer from diplophobia, the fear of double vision, the experience can be downright debilitating.

The word “diplophobia” comes from the Greek words “diploos,” meaning double, and “phobos,” meaning fear. While the origins of the word are clear, the origins of the phobia itself are less so. Some scientists believe that diplophobia may be related to other visual distortions, such as hallucinations or vertigo. Others suggest that it may be a learned response to traumatic experiences involving double vision.

Despite its rarity, diplophobia is a real and serious condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Those with diplophobia may avoid situations that could trigger double vision, such as watching 3D movies or reading in dim lighting. They may also experience panic disorders, rapid heart rate, and other symptoms of anxiety when confronted with double vision.

Interestingly, some cultures have different words to describe the fear of double vision. In Italy, for example, the fear is called “diplopia,” while in Spain, it is known as “visión doble.” Regardless of the name or the culture, however, diplophobia is a challenging condition that requires careful management and treatment.

Causes of Diplophobia

If you have ever wondered what causes diplophobia, then you are in the right place. In this section, we will discuss the various reasons that might lead to the development of diplophobia.

Eye Conditions and Refractive Errors

One of the leading causes of diplophobia is eye conditions such as strabismus, amblyopia, and convergence insufficiency. These conditions affect eye movement and coordination, leading to the brain perceiving double images. It is essential to note that diplophobia is not caused by the physical presence of double vision but rather the fear of experiencing it.

Refractive errors such as astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia can also lead to the fear of double vision. These errors affect the way the eyes focus on objects, causing blurred or distorted vision. People with refractive errors tend to strain their eyes, leading to fatigue, headaches, and double vision, which can be terrifying.

Trauma/Psychological Factors

Trauma or physical injuries to the head or eyes can cause diplophobia. When you experience a head injury, the brain can have difficulty coordinating the images from the two eyes, leading to double vision. The fear of experiencing double vision can be compounded by the traumatic experience of the injury itself happening.

Anxiety and psychological factors can also cause diplophobia. People who are anxious or overly conscious of their vision tend to focus too much on the fear of experiencing double vision. This fear can lead to avoidance behaviors such as not looking at certain objects or situations that might trigger the fear.

Symptoms of Diplophobia

Diplophobia is a type of phobia that involves the fear of double vision, which can be a result of a variety of eye conditions and brain disorders. People with diplophobia are often scared of experiencing double vision or seeing an image multiple times, and this fear can linger even after treatment or surgery.

In this section, we will discuss some of the common symptoms of diplophobia.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

One of the primary symptoms of diplophobia is anxiety and panic attacks. People suffering with this condition often experience a sense of dread or fear when they think about double vision, and this can cause them to feel extremely anxious and nervous.

These feelings can be heightened during situations where their eyes are exposed, being tested or examined, or when they are in a crowded environment with lots of visual stimuli.

Avoidance Behavior

Avoidance behavior is another common symptom and sign of diplophobia. This involves avoiding situations where the person fears they may experience double vision, such as going to the movies or watching TV.

They may also avoid social situations where they might be asked to read or focus their eyes on a particular object, as this might exacerbate their anxiety and fears.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms can also be associated with diplophobia, including sweating, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath. These symptoms typically occur during times of heightened anxiety or when the person is faced with a triggering situation. In addition, people with severe diplophobia may also experience headaches, nausea, muscle tension, and dizziness.

Compulsive Behaviors

In some cases, people with diplophobia may develop compulsive behaviors. This can include constantly checking their eyesight or vision, wearing corrective lenses even when they don’t need them, or avoiding certain objects or situations altogether. Other compulsive behaviors may include blinking excessively, rubbing their eyes, or looking away from objects that might trigger the fear.

Treatments for Diplophobia

If you know someone who struggles with diplophobia, it can be tough to know what to do to help them. Fortunately, there are some treatment options available that can help to reduce the fear of double vision and allow people to live their lives more fully. Here are some of the most common treatment options for phobias available:

Vision Therapy

One of the most effective treatment options for diplophobia is vision therapy. This is a type of therapy that helps people to strengthen their eye muscles and improve their vision overall. During vision therapy, patients work with trained professionals to complete exercises and activities that help to build strength and coordination in the eyes. This can help to reduce the occurrence of double vision and alleviate the symptoms of diplophobia.


In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of diplophobia. For example, anti-anxiety medications may be helpful for people who experience panic attacks or other intense symptoms as a result of their fear of double vision. Antidepressant medications may also be prescribed if depression or other mood disorders are present.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that helps people to change the way they think and feel about a particular situation or fear. This type of therapy is often used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders. During cognitive-behavioral therapy, patients work with a therapist to identify the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their fear of double vision. They then work together to develop strategies to change these patterns and reduce the fear.

Prism Glasses

Prism glasses are a type of eyewear that can be used to treat diplophobia. These glasses have specially designed lenses that help to correct the position of the eyes and reduce double vision. They can be particularly helpful for people who experience diplophobia as a result of a physical injury or condition, such as a concussion or stroke.

Coping Strategies for Living with Diplophobia

Though the fear of double vision can be overwhelming, there are some strategies that many people suffering with diplophobia can use to help manage their symptoms. These include deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and positive self-awareness. It can also be helpful to focus on the present moment and practice mindfulness skills, such as focusing on the breath and noticing sensations in the body.

Additionally, regular exercise can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health. Finally, it can be beneficial to connect with a supportive community, either online or in person. Talking openly about the fear of double vision and getting support from others can help to reduce the fear and make it easier to manage.

Support Friends or Family Members with this Fear

Watching someone you care about experiencing diplophobia can be overwhelming and challenging. Luckily, there are many ways that you can offer support and help them manage their fear. Here are three helpful tips to keep in mind when supporting someone with diplophobia:

Be a Compassionate Listener

One of the most important things you can do to support someone with diplophobia is to simply listen to their fears and concerns. Let them know that you are there for them and that you are willing to listen without judgment or criticism. Show them compassion and empathy, and remember that diplophobia can be a disabling condition that can impact many areas of their life.

For example, Josephine has noticed that her friend Maggie has been struggling with double vision and avoiding social situations. Josephine took the time to sit down with Maggie and listen to her fears about her condition. By showing Maggie that she was willing to listen and understand what she was going through, Josephine was able to provide the support and comfort that Maggie needed to begin to manage her symptoms.

Offer Practical Help

Many people with diplophobia experience varying degrees of difficulty with their vision, which can make simple daily tasks a bit more challenging. Providing practical help, such as offering to drive them to appointments or run errands, can be incredibly helpful and supportive. It can also help take some of the pressure off of them and relieve some of their anxiety.

For instance, Ruhi noticed that her sister, who has diplophobia, was struggling with grocery shopping as the double vision made it hard for her to read the labels. So, Ruhi offered to go shopping with her sister and help her pick out the items she needed. By doing this, Ruhi provided her sister the practical support she needed to make things easier.

Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Though supporting your loved one is essential, it’s important to recognize that managing diplophobia can be quite complex and often requires professional support. Encourage them to seek help from an optometrist or a therapist who specializes in phobias. They can learn about their specific phobia and treatments and techniques that can help them manage their symptoms and regain control over their life.

For example, Stefan noticed that his friend Alex, who had diplophobia, was struggling to manage her symptoms on her own. Stefan encouraged Alex to make an appointment with an optometrist, who diagnosed Alex’s condition and recommended specific treatments that could help her overcome her fear of double vision.


Supporting someone with diplophobia can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that with patience, compassion, and practical help, you can make a real difference. By being there for your loved one and encouraging them to seek professional help, you can help them regain control over their life and manage their fears in a positive way.

FAQ – Diplophobia: Fear of Double Vision

Can fear cause double vision?

No, fear cannot cause double vision. Double vision is a medical condition that can have multiple causes, such as an eye muscle imbalance or neurological disorder. However, fear can increase an individual’s perception of their double vision symptoms and make them more pronounced.

Can anxiety cause dizziness and double vision?

Yes, anxiety can cause dizziness and double vision in some people. This is because when a person is anxious, their body releases stress hormones, which can affect the vestibular system and inner ear, leading to symptoms such as dizziness and blurred vision.

Why do I have double vision all of a sudden?

There are many potential causes of sudden double vision, such as an infection, injury to the eye or head, neurological disorder, or a medication side effect. If you experience sudden double vision, it’s important to seek medical advice from an optometrist or doctor immediately.

Does depression cause double vision?

No, depression does not directly cause double vision. However, depression can increase the severity of any existing eye condition and make the symptoms more pronounced. Therefore, if an individual has double vision due to a pre-existing medical condition, depression can make it worse.