Metamorphopsia: Types, Symptoms And Treatment

Perception is the human ability to capture information from the surrounding environment, which after being processed allows us to react and adapt to the environment. Capturing this information is vital for survival, and depends largely on our sensory organs.

However, sometimes our senses deceive us and perceive something that does not exist, or they perceive something with characteristics that are far from what is real. To this last assumption remains the phenomenon known as metamorphopsia

The concept of metamorphopsia

Metamorphopsia is understood as a type of perceptual alteration in which the subject who suffers from it captures the size or shape of objects differently than how they really are. This type of perceptual alteration occurs at the visual level and is linked to the perception of distances.

It is a real perception of a stimulus that really exists, although the object is perceived with characteristics that differ from the real ones. Metamorphopsia is therefore a type of perceptual distortion, in which a specific stimulus or stimuli is perceived anomalously. In this way we are not dealing with content that can be classified as a perceptual deception: it is not a hallucination.

As a general rule, the subject who suffers from some type of metamorphopsia is able to detect that his perception is distorted, not being oblivious to the fact that the shapes or sizes detected are not correct This can cause a high level of tension and anxiety to appear before its appearance.

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Metamorphopsia is not a disorder in itself, but is considered a symptom from which the existence of a medical or psychological problem can be inferred. It is not a dangerous condition in itself, although it can be annoying and can lead to making erroneous judgments about reality However, depending on the case, the problem that causes it can be somewhat serious.

Appearance of this alteration

The metamorphopsia It is a perceptual distortion that can appear in very different conditions both for biological causes and for psychological causes.

It frequently appears due to alterations in the brain nuclei responsible for vision, as well as parietal lobe epilepsy or brain tumors. Of the same, trauma, stroke, intracranial hemorrhages, and other types of brain injury They can also cause it.

The eye and retina are also usually key points in the development of disorders that generate the appearance of metamorphopsias. It is common to appear in cases of macular degeneration retinal splitting, retinal vein infarctions, age-related edema or even in some cases as an effect of diabetes, extreme myopia or inflammation resulting from surgery.

Another factor linked to the appearance of metamorphopsia is the consumption of substances with psychoactive properties, the appearance of this symptom being common with the consumption of hallucinogens such as LSD or mescaline, narcotics or even some psychotropic drugs.

Sometimes They can occur due to states of intense emotional activation such as terror, anguish or anger. Although it can appear in some mental disorders, it is not common. In the latter case, the disorder called Alice in Wonderland syndrome stands out.

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Different types of metamorphopsia

Metamorphopsia is a perceptual distortion that can be found in which different types of sensory alterations can appear. Broadly speaking, we can find three major types of metamorphopsia

1. Dysmegalopsias

This is a type of metamorphopsia in which the alteration occurs in the capture or perception of the size of the stimulus. If our perception of the stimulus is larger than its real size, we are talking about macropsia while if we perceive something as smaller than it, we are talking about a micropsia.

2. Dysmorphopsias

Dysmorphopsia is understood to be a type of metamorphopsia in which the aspect that is perceived distorted is the shape of the stimulus in question. The most common thing is to see deformed objects or people such as with waves.

3. Autometamorphopsia

Another type of metamorphopsia is found in autometamorphopsia, in which we perceive our own body in an abnormal way.

4. Inverted metamorphopsia

This type of metamorphopsia is not very common. In this case, it is not the way It is not the size that appears distorted, but the spatial location In this way, we can see things inverted, as if we were hanging upside down or from other different orientations.


Because it is a symptom and not a disorder itself, The choice of treatment or therapy to be used will depend largely on the disease that generates it. In general, the visual system should be reviewed to check whether the perception problem is due to visual or neurological alterations, as well as whether the subject has consumed psychoactive substances or is undergoing some type of pharmacological treatment.

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In addition provide information to the subject about what is happening to them It is essential, since perceptual alterations and especially visual ones usually awaken a certain level of panic and anguish in addition to the uncertainty of why they see that way.