Diseases of the Macula | Distortion

Here’s a short list of retinal diseases that cause metamorphopsia….aka distortion.

Distortion in the vision is usually caused by a disease of the macula. The macula is the functional center of the vision. It is a small area of the retina, yet it yields the most sensitive visual acuity (i.e. 20/20) and our best color perception.

Any change in this tiny area can yield visual distortion: e.g. the perception that objects are crooked, yet we know they are straight. An example is a line of text or the straightness of a telephone pole

Causes of Distortion

There are many macular diseases that may distort the vision. Any disease that causes swelling of the macula or physically changes the macula can cause distortion.

Here’s a short list of a variety of diseases evaluated and treated by a retina specialist:

Diabetic Macular Edema – a common complication of diabetic retinopathy. The macula actually swells due to leaky blood vessels affected by diabetes.

Epiretinal Membrane – also known as macular pucker or cellophane maculpathy. A membrane actually develops on the surface of the retina causing physical distortion of the retinal surface.

Macular Hole – a distinct “stretch hole” develops in the center of the macula causing blind spots and distortion.

Macular Degeneration – either form, wet or dry, can cause distortion.

Retinal Vascular Occlusions – these include retinal vein occlusions and retinal artery occlusions. Macular edema often is associated with occlusion which may cause distortion.

Evaluation of Distortion

I usually recommend that anyone who notices a persistent change in vision, including distortion, call their eye doctor. Problems with the retina usually don’t wax and wane, thus, they don’t cause temporary or fleeting symptoms.

Any one who has complaints of distortion may need to have:

  • Dilated Eye Exam
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • OCT – Optical Coherence Tomography

Treatment of Distortion

Treatment options are geared toward repairing the physical disruption of the retina. Vitrectomy eye surgery is indicated as in the cases of macular holes and epiretinal membranes. Macular swelling can be treated with a variety of non-surgical methods including drops, injections or laser.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us (877) 245.2020.

Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H.
Retina Specialist
Orlando, FL

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Jon Doe