Double Vision from Myasthenia Gravis

Mar 16, 2022
Double Vision Cover 

Double Vision from Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a rare autoimmune disease that affects approximately 60,000 people in the United States. Symptoms include diplopia (double vision), ptosis (droopy eyelids), muscle weakness, and trouble speaking or swallowing.

Ocular, or eye-related, MG symptoms often happen first before the disease progresses to its general form that affects other systems in the body. Like many autoimmune and rare diseases, MG is often misdiagnosed.

A Case Study

BMJ, the British Medical Association’s trade journal, published a study about a 58-year-old man who had been experiencing diplopia and partial ptosis for 10 years. Because his condition didn’t worsen over time and he didn’t have other signs of MG, his eye problems were mistakenly attributed to nerve paralysis related to coronary artery disease.

After dealing with one droopy eyelid and double vision for a decade, he visited another ophthalmologist. The physician performed several tests and concluded that an atypical presentation of MG was possible. He referred the patient to a neurologist. The man’s blood work revealed a high level of antibodies indicative of MG.

He was treated with oral steroids and pyridostigmine, a medication that affects chemicals in the body involved with communication between nerve impulses and muscle movement. He also had his thymus gland removed, as it can play a role in the development and progression of MG.

After several months, his symptoms began to improve. His double vision eventually vanished and he was left with only a mild degree of ptosis.

Are you concerned about myasthenia gravis?

Early referral to a neurologist is essential for a good MG outcome, but there are many reasons a person can experience diplopia and ptosis. If you have developed double vision or drooping eyelids, it’s important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible.

Our kind and compassionate team of eye professionals is here to help you through any vision problem. We promise to work with you to find the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Call or text us today at (423) 855-8522 to make an eye exam appointment.