I guess you are wondering what this is. What is a wavy vision? Is there such a thing as a wavy vision? Who has a wavy vision?
That was the complaint a nine year old patient gave when she came into my consulting room the other day. She said and I quote, “whenever I close my right eye, everything looks wavy with my left eye. It’s like things are bent like a wave”.
If someone describes such vision to you what goes through your mind? Impending blindness? Or a practical joke?
Such condition is called metamorphopsia.
Metamorphopsia is a vision defect where straight lines appear wavy. For example when looking at the edge of a table, instead of being straight it looks curved or wavy. There might even be blank spots in the line of vision. When this is noticed it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately. It just might be the underlying symptom of a serious eye condition.
Understanding how the visual system of the eye works will give a better view of this condition. Light goes into the eye through the cornea, the aqueous humor, the lens then the vitreous humor before finally hitting the retina at the macular precisely which is located at the center of the retina where vision is clearest. As rays of light pass through all these materials, it gets bent (refracted) at every stage due to their varying thickness.
CAUSES OF METAMORPHOPSIA
1. Migraine: This is a series of chronic moderate to severe headaches which are often associated with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. The headaches occur in one half of the head and are associated with nausea, photophobia and sometimes visual distortions. Metamorphopsia in this case is usually temporary.
2. Macular Degeneration: This is more common in our senior citizens – from fifty years of age and above although cases are also seen in the younger generation. It’s an eye disease that causes loss of vision in the central visual field.
3. Retinal Detachment: In this instance the retina is separated from its supporting layers (i.e. detaches) and this causes reduced vision and/or metamorphopsia. It can be caused by ocular inflammation, head trauma, complications in surgery, diabetes or high myopia (short sightedness).
4. Macula Hole: This can be congenital or as a result of underlying diseases. The nerve cells of the macula become separated from each other and pull away from the back surface of the eye.
Treatment of metamorphopsia would depend on the underlying cause. So when you hear someone say he/she has a wavy vision. Suggest a prompt visit to the eye doctor.