Derrick Rose Back on Court Despite Double Vision

If an NBA player gets a basket when he has double vision, does he get 4 points?

Unfortunately not, but you’d be impressed that was able to get any points, much less 18. But that’s what Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose did last night in the Bulls 97-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rose is back on the basketball court after suffering a left orbital fracture on, September 29,  the first day of practice. It came from a hit by teammate Taj Gibson‘s elbow to his face. He had surgery on the injury on September 30, and must wear a special mask to protect his face during the game.

Along with some swelling around the eye, Rose says he still has a problem with double vision, and tries to keep his left eye closed during the game.

According to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg:

“I think he sees three baskets right now. I told him, ‘Aim for the middle one.’ That’s part of it right now — the depth perception. It’s probably still a little bit off. He’s still out there working on [3s], shooting them, but we want him to be aggressive getting to the basket and making plays for his teammates.”

But Rose seems to be taking it in stride:

“While I’m out there, I’m good enough to still be able to do positive things and help my teammates win, and that’s all I’m trying to do.”

What is binocular vision?

pc-3-d-brainBinocular vision is vision where both eyes aim simultaneously at the same object. Healthy binocular vision produces important visual perceptual skills- depth perception and stereopsis.

Stereopsis means that the two separate images, one from each eye, are successfully combined into one image in the brain. The combined picture appears three-dimensional (3-D) because it has the added depth dimension. That’s stereo vision. Stereo vision gives you depth perception

What is double vision?

DiplopiaDouble vision, medical term- diplopia, is a condition that causes people to see two images of an object. The two perceived images may be displaced horizontally, vertically, diagonally in relation to each other.

Double vision may occur when only one eye is open (monocular diplopia) or, more commonly, when both eyes are open (binocular diplopia). Binocular double vision disappears when either eye is closed.

Monocular double vision can occur when something distorts light transmission through the eye to the retina. There is usually one clear image and one or more distorted images. The most common causes of monocular double vision are

    • Clouding of the lens of the eye- a cataract.
    • Problems with the shape of the cornea (for example, keratoconus, in which the cornea changes from its normal round shape to a conelike shape)
    • Uncorrected refractive error, usually astigmatism

Binocular double vision suggests the eyes are not pointing at the same object. People normally see an object as a single image even though each eye receives its own separate image of that object. To perceive single images, the eyes must be aligned so that both point to the same object at the same time (called conjugate alignment). When the eyes are not properly aligned, people see two images, both of equal quality. Sometimes binocular double vision becomes apparent only when people move their eyes to an extreme in a certain direction (for example, to the far right or left, or up or down).

There are many possible causes of binocular double vision. The most common are

  • Paralysis of one of the nerves that controls the muscles that move the eye (called the 3rd, 4th, and 6th cranial nerves)
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Mechanical blockage of eye movement

EyemusclesMost commonly, the eyes are misaligned because of a disorder affecting the cranial nerves supplying the muscles that move the eyes, called extraocular muscles. The paralysis may be isolated and the cause may be unknown. Known causes include disorders that typically interfere with the ability of the nerves to control muscles. For example, myasthenia gravis, botulism, and Guillain-Barré syndrome can affect muscles throughout the body, including the muscles that move the eyes.

Anything that mechanically interferes with eye motion can keep the eyes from aligning properly and cause double vision. Examples include entrapment of an eye muscle in a fracture of the eye socket and deposition of abnormal tissue in the eye socket as can occur with the form of hyperthyroidism called Graves disease.

Source: Merck Manual

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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