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What is Distortion of Central Vision?

Distortion of central vision is a visual defect in which linear objects, such as lines on a grid appear curvy, rounded, or discontinuous. This can occur in either eye or both as a result of problems related to the eye’s retina, specifically, the macula.

The retina is the tissue that lines the back of the eye. It senses light and conveys impulses to the brain through the optic nerve enabling you to see. The macula is located in the centre of the retina and is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. It controls our capability to read, drive a car, recognise colours or faces, and visualise objects in clear detail. When either of these things is affected by age, injury, or disease, distortion of central vision occurs.

Causes of Distortion of Central Vision

Some of the common causes of distortion of central vision include:

  • Macular degeneration: An age-related degenerative disease affecting the macula.
  • Macular oedema: A condition defined by accumulation of fluids in the macula.
  • Macular puckers: A disorder characterised by the formation of scar tissue in the macula.
  • Macular hole: A condition in which a small tear or rupture is noted in the macula.
  • Retinal detachment: A medical emergency in which a section of the retina peels away from its supportive tissue.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: This is a complication of diabetes that impacts the eyes causing damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, the retina.
  • Migraines: A medical condition characterised by recurrent headaches that cause temporary distortion of central vision symptoms.

Symptoms Associated with Distortion of Central Vision

Some of the common symptoms associated with distortion of central vision include:

  • Flat objects, like a street sign, appears rounded
  • Shapes, like an individual’s face, appear distorted
  • Straight objects, like a signboard, appear wavy
  • Things appear larger than they are or smaller than they are

Risk Factors for Distortion of Central Vision

Some of the common risk factors for distortion of central vision include:

  • Advanced age
  • Hereditary
  • Race
  • Smoking
  • Eye trauma
  • Family history
  • Diabetes

Diagnosing Distortion of Central Vision

Most of the techniques employed by your ophthalmologist to help diagnose distortion of central vision involve charts or graphs with lines including:

  • Ophthalmoscopy: A general eye examination to study the interior of the eye as well as other structures using an ophthalmoscope.
  • Slit-Lamp Test: A routine test in which an ophthalmologist shines a light into the eye to look for any abnormalities.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): An imaging technique that provides high-resolution cross-sectional images of the retina.
  • M-charts: This is a diagnostic tool comprised of charts with either 1 or 2 vertical lines of small dots, with a central visual field.
  • Amsler grid: This is a testing tool that consists of a grid of vertical and horizontal lines to evaluate an individual’s central visual field.
  • PHP (Preferential Hyperacuity Perimeter): A diagnostic tool that can detect changes in the macula and monitor visual distortion.

Treatment for Distortion of Central Vision

As the distortion of central vision is basically a result of problems pertaining to the macula or retina, treating the underlying problem should improve distortion of central vision. Some of the methods employed to treat the underlying condition include:

Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophens can be used to treat distorted central vision attributed to migraines.

Supplements: Your doctor may advise you to take certain supplements, such as vitamin C and E, zeaxanthin and lutein to slow down the progress of the disease, such as macular degeneration.

Laser surgery: Your doctor may recommend laser surgery to slow down or cease bleeding from damaged vessels in the retina associated with macular degeneration.

Retinal Surgery: If you have had a retinal detachment, your surgeon may recommend reattaching the detached retina surgically, such as performing a vitrectomy, scleral buckling, or pneumatic retinopexy.

Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy is a freeze treatment employed to treat various retinal conditions. It is commonly utilised to treat detachments or tears of the retina by freezing the layers of the eye and forming an adhesive scar to seal the retina.

Eye Specialists

54 Hughes St
Cabramatta, NSW 2166


  • the university of sydney
  • the royal australian and new zealand college orthopaedic
  • UNSW
  • South Western Eye Care