Metamorphopsia is a visual defect that causes people to see objects in a distorted manner. When an individual has metamorphopsia, he typically sees lines as wavy or curly instead of straight and flat surfaces as curved. For example, an individual with this condition may look at a telephone pole and see it as curvy or see a bunch of trees as if they form a rounded group. Sometimes telephone poles and trees look as if they are bending over rather than standing up straight.
Sometimes a person develops metamorphopsia as one of the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration. This condition typically affects individuals who are at least 50 years old, causing loss of vision in the center of the affected person’s retina, which is tissue that lines the back of the eye. This part of the eye is called the macula, and loss of vision in this area is often the result of retinal damage. When an individual has macular degeneration, faces appear blurred, printed words are difficult to recognize, and other visual distortions may occur.
Metamorphopsia may also occur as the result of retinal detachment. This is a condition in which a person’s retina moves away from the eye structures that support it. As a result, the individual stops seeing things normally. Retinal detachment may occur because of injury to the affected eye and sometimes even head trauma. It may occur as a complication of eye surgery or develop in people who have eye diseases. This condition may even affect individuals who have no other illness but are extremely nearsighted.
In some cases, individuals who have migraines report symptoms of this condition. A migraine is a severe headache that begins when blood vessels in the brain become enlarged and stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain. Migraine headaches are usually very painful and are often accompanied by visual disturbances, upset stomach, diarrhea, and light sensitivity. These symptoms are temporary, though some people do experience frequent migraines.
An individual with macular holes or tears often experiences metamorphopsia as well as blurriness and difficulty reading. A macular hole or tear is a type of damage to the macula that is more common in people who are over the age of 60. There are many things that can contribute to the development of holes and tears in the macula. They include retinal detachment, complications of diabetes, extremely severe nearsightedness, eye injuries, and certain eye diseases.
Treatment may depend on what has caused it and usually entails resolving the underlying condition. It’s important to see an ophthalmologist as soon as visual changes are noticed. Some conditions can progress to blindness if left untreated.