Macropsia

A huge chair towers over trees and a wooden fence, against a rich blue sky.Macropsia causes a person to see things as larger than they actually are. This condition and micropsia, in which things appear smaller than they actually are, are also known as Alice in Wonderland syndrome.

What Is Macropsia?

A neurological condition that radically alters what is visually perceived, macropsia tends to affect young people. The most noticeable symptom of the condition is its characteristic distortion of visual perceptions. Macropsia causes objects to appear distorted in size, although not all objects are disturbed. For example, a woman might notice that while her desk appears to be as large as her house, her house still seems to be the same size as usual.

Macropsia can also alter perception of body image, cause hallucinations, and cause people to perceive the shape of objects differently or lose their spatial perspective (sense of space and time).

Though the condition does not cause physiological changes, macropsia may have psychological effects on a person and may lead to behavioral changes. For example, a person experiencing macropsia might also feel too anxious to leave his or her home, for fear that visual distortions may affect decision-making abilities.

What Causes Macropsia?

Macropsia is usually caused by neurological problems such as epilepsy. It is commonly linked to migraines, although the distortions can appear with or without a migraine headache. Brain injuries and brain tumors can contribute to the development of the condition, as can certain hallucinogenic drugs, strokes, or mononucleosis. The condition can also be caused by structural abnormalities in the eye, particularly in the retina. These abnormalities can be genetic, the result of a physical injury such as a detached retina, or caused by a degenerative condition. In rare cases, the condition may develop as the result of a delusional condition such as schizophrenia.

Treatment of Macropsia

Treatment of the condition generally focuses on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing migraines, though the distortions experienced with macropsia can sometimes be reduced with eye glasses that correct for optical illusions created by the eye.

Young people with this condition generally outgrow it, but because macropsia can be caused by brain abnormalities, people with symptoms of macropsia may need extensive testing, and require monitoring in case the severity or frequency of the episodes increases. Neurological medications and brain surgery may prove helpful in some cases, and antipsychotic medications may help people experiencing hallucinations.

References:

  1. Macropsia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mmcneuro.wordpress.com/tag/macropsia/
  2. Macropsia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/184102.html

Last Updated: 08-11-2015

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