What is Diplopia? Learn About the Vision Disorder that Marc Márquez Has

The Spanish racer is suffering from diplopia again. In this article, we'll tell you all about diplopia and what it involves.
What is Diplopia? Learn About the Vision Disorder that Marc Márquez Has
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 08 October, 2022

The news that Marc Marquez has diplopia has been repeated a few times in the motorcyclist’s life and professional career. This time, after his accident in Mandalika while the Moto GP tests were taking place, his condition has come back.

As far as we know, Márquez has had this problem for quite some time. In fact, every time a cranioencephalic trauma takes place, the diplopia reappears. However, we’re not dealing with minor injuries here, but with truly serious impacts that are even life-threatening.

The underlying cause is paralysis of the fourth cranial nerve on the right side, which modifies the functioning of the superior oblique muscle on the same side. Therefore, the eyeballs can’t accommodate well, and double vision appears.

What is diplopia?

Marc Márquez’s diplopia is the duplicated visual perception of an object. In simple terms, we’re talking about double vision.

We’ve likely all experienced this at some time, but only temporarily. However, the disorder can be configured as a more chronic and persistent clinical picture associated with more severe vision conditions as well as with neurological disorders.

Overall, there are two main types of diplopia:

  • Monocular diplopia: This appears with only one eye open.
  • Binocular diplopia: This is only evident with both eyes open and stops when one of the eyelids is closed.
diplopia Marc Márquez exam
Diplopia is a symptom that many people perceive at times. What a professional must do is establish the cause.

The causes of diplopia

Since monocular and binocular diplopia aren’t the same thing, the etiologies also change. That is, the causes of each form tend to be different.

Cataracts, keratoconus, and astigmatism are the most frequent origins of the monocular variant. All of these conditions have the alteration of the passage of light to the retina in common. Therefore, the rays fail to reach the back of the eye, where they should stimulate the receptors correctly.

On the other hand, binocular diplopia is frequently caused by myasthenia gravis and paralysis of the oculomotor cranial nerves. These are the nerves that are denominated with the Roman numerals III, IV, and VI. Precisely, Marc Márquez has paralysis of number IV at the moment.

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Marc Márquez’s history of diplopia

As we already mentioned, this is not the first time that Marc Márquez has suffered from diplopia. In fact, according to our records, it’s actually the fourth. The beginning was in his youth, while he was competing in the Spanish Speed Championship. A skull injury led to a compression of certain eye muscles that didn’t allow for the correct visual accommodation. However, since it was an inflammatory condition, he improved quickly.

Some time later, in 2011, he had another accident, and the accumulation of fluid around the eye orbit caused a recurrence of diplopia. He was treated and was expected to recover spontaneously, but this didn’t happen, and it was actually discovered that there was paralysis in his fourth cranial nerve. So, at the beginning of 2012, a surgical approach was chosen.

Marc Márquez’s third bout of diplopia was in October 2021 after a training accident. At the time, there were no major problems. However, the symptom then manifested itself, and his ophthalmologist confirmed it. Again, there was a nerve palsy behind it. However, this time, he didn’t require surgery and recovered spontaneously.

So far, after this last report after the Moto GP accident, his doctor expressed that there’s another case of diplopia, possibly as a recurrence of the one in 2021. It’s less serious this time, although it’s likely also related to the same paralysis of the oculomotor nerve. For the time being, there will be no surgery. The athlete will go through treatment and the necessary follow-ups.

Moto GP
The high speeds of motorcycling competitions often expose drivers to serious injuries.

What future awaits Marc Márquez?

Marc Márquez already knows diplopia firsthand. Therefore, he’s gone through both conservative and surgical treatments. The first option is always to wait for a spontaneous resolution before proceeding with an intervention.

“It seems that I’m having a déjà vu… During the trip back to Spain, I started to experience discomfort in my vision, and we decided to visit Dr. Sanchez Dalmau, who confirmed that I have a new episode of diplopia.” -Marc Márquez’s Twitter

The Spanish motorcyclist knows this and has no other remedy at hand but to wait. Paralysis of this type due to cranioencephalic trauma represents only about 25% of all disorders of the fourth cranial nerve. Fortunately, however, these are also the types of injuries that are least likely to require surgery. Marquez’s history shows that there are no immediate sequelae to prevent him from getting back in his car.

He will continue to compete. The risk of an accident is inherent to his professional career, and he has known this since he was young.

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  • Moreno Ramos, T., and R. García-Ramos García. “Alteraciones de la motilidad ocular: parálisis de los nervios craneales tercero, cuarto y sexto y otras causas de diplopía.” Neurología Suplementos 3.8 (2007): 60-67.
  • Carreras, Anna Camós, et al. “Paresia del cuarto nervio craneal.” Annals d’oftalmologia: òrgan de les Societats d’Oftalmologia de Catalunya, Valencia i Balears 28.2 (2020): 4.
  • Danchaivijitr, C., and C. Kennard. “Diplopia and eye movement disorders.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 75.suppl 4 (2004): iv24-iv31.

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.