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What Can Cause Wavy Lines in Vision & How is it Treated?

Wavy lines in vision can be a common problem for some people. This occurs when you see wavy margins instead of straight margins while observing a vertical blind at the window. The condition is also known as Metamorphopsia. The light passes through various section of eyes and the normal pathway is necessary to prevent distortion or metamorphosia of images. External light enters into the human eye and transmits the signals of visual impression to the brain. Signals of visual information is transmitted by the nerve to the vision center of the brain. Information interacts with the various specialized neurons (nerve cells) in brain and creates the image. Images are created following analysis and interpretation of the impulses by brain cells.

The images observed by individual are transmitted through various section of the eye over the retina at the back of the eyeball. The impression of the image registered over retina is then transferred to the brain with help of optic nerve. Brain decodes the signals and create an image. The normal impression of objects seen by eye depends on normal structure of the eye. The abnormal cornea, lens, vitreous body or macula causes peripheral distortion of image that results in wavy lines or margin.

Thus any abnormalities of eye resulting in conditions like blindness, blurring of vision, long sightedness and blurred vision causes wavy lines along the outer margin of the image. Several eye disease causes wavy lines in vision or metamorphosis. The treatment options of wavy lines depend on the abnormality and diseases of eye. Though, the most common cause of wavy lines in vision is migraine and macular degeneration.

What Can Cause Wavy Lines in Vision?

What are the Causes of Wavy Lines in Vision?

There are many risk factors that triggers wavy line vision in individuals who are suffering with ocular migraine and macular degeneration. Ocular migraine can be temporary but macular degeneration can gradually become permanent, if appropriate treatment is not provided in time.

Macular Degeneration – Commonest Cause of Wavy Lines in Vision

Risk Factors of Wavy Lines in Vision–

Following are the risk factors that promotes Wavy Lines Vision (Metamorphosia)

Causes of Wavy Lines in Vision (metamorphosia)-

Ocular diseases may or may not be associated with wavy line vision. Most research data suggest the distortion is caused by abnormalities in brain areas of cerebral cortex. Most brain areas that show abnormal findings in lab studies are temporal, occipital, parietal and frontal lobes. Following diseases often are associated with abnormalities in eye and brain cortex. Wavy lines in vision are most frequently seen in patient suffering with macular degeneration and ocular migraine.

Causes of Wavy Lines in Vision (Metamorphosia)-

  • Macular Degeneration3
  • Ocular Migraine
  • Choroidal Neovascularization
  • Myopia
  • Ocular histoplasmosis
  • Choroidal rupture and
  • Multifocal Choroiditis.

Macular Degeneration – Commonest Cause of Wavy Lines in Vision

Macular degeneration, is known to be one of the prime causes of wavy lines. It is related to the process of ageing and progresses gradually, but can be a serious eye problem which can lead to deterioration of the macula. Macula is located at the center of retina at the back of the eyeball. The image is transferred into nerve signals at the macula. The signals are carried to brain by optic nerve. The signals are interpreted and analyzed by optic cortex to create an image. The normal anatomy of macula, optic nerve and brain is essential to see the object. Macular degeneration causes abnormal function that results in wavy lines vision.

As the person gets older, the macula starts degrading itself, which often results in the problem of wavy lines in vision. Any sort of deterioration in it leads to a break in the sharp vision, which is why the person sees wavy lines, instead of straight lines.

Macular degeneration can not only cause wavy lines in vision, but can also lead to different eye problems. Individual suffering with macular degeneration and wavy line vision sees changes in shapes, dull and unattractive images of face, blurred or hazy objects and in most cases finds it difficult to read as well as write.

Wavy Lines in Vision Caused Due to Ocular Migraine

Wavy Lines in Vision Caused Due to Ocular Migraine

Another important cause of wavy lines vision is ocular migraine. Ocular migraine is also known as retinal migraine. This condition occurs when the person is unable to see objects clearly and can cause wavy lines in vision. The problem starts with a gradual migraine headache, leading to temporary loss of vision. This loss or affected vision is temporary and can last for varying period ranging from four to seventy-two hours. It differs from person to person and may be experienced as long as the episode of migraine lasts.

While the exact cause of ocular migraine is not clearly understood, it is believed that ocular migraine can result from spasms of the blood vessels or nerve disturbances. It can also be triggered due to certain diet and lifestyle factors. In addition to wavy lines in vision, ocular migraine may also present with flashes of lights, moving colors, spots, etc. in vision.

Treatment Options for Wavy Lines in Vision

Wavy lines in vision is a symptom. The symptom is caused by diseases, which are already mentioned. The cause must be treated to provide relief from wavy lines in vision. Knowing the exact cause of wavy lines in vision can help to treat the symptom of wavy lines in vision. Thus, treatment precedes examination and investigation to conclude diagnose. Diseases causing wavy line vision are treated with conservative and specific treatment. In most cases appropriate treatment helps to reduce severity and recurrent episodes.

  • Hydration- Maintain proper hydration.
  • Blood Sugar- Maintain near normal level of blood sugar.4
  • Use Telescopic Lenses- As this problem is related to ageing (if caused due to macular degeneration), it is difficult to stop the process. However, wavy lines in vision can be managed to certain extent by making use of telescopic lenses in the eye.
  • Dietary Supplement- Macular degeneration causing wavy lines in vision due to ageing can be controlled to some extent by dietary supplements. Physicians may consider special supplements of vitamins and minerals, as a treatment option of wavy lines in vision. Antioxidant like vitamin E is been found useful in treating symptomatic macular degeneration.
  • Medications- Drugs like anti epileptics, which are usually taken for normal migraine problems can also be consumed for wavy lines due to ocular migraine. As this condition is not permanent, over the counter migraine drugs can provide relief, however, medical advice would be beneficial.
  • Anti-VEGF drugs are tried in treatment of macular degeneration. All cases may not respond to treatment and symptoms may continue. Anti-VEGF treatment involves used of one of the 2 drugs. Most widely used two medications are Luentis (ranibizumab) and avastin (bevacizumab).5
  • Surgery- In some cases, if appropriate, surgical treatment option may be considered.6 This is considered as an effective treatment option for wavy lines occurring due to degeneration of wet macula. In this surgical treatment option, laser treatments are used to inject a drug into the eye so that all the blood vessels which leak are destroyed.

Taking good care of your health, following a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and regular checkups can help to prevent further damage to eyesight.


  1. Age-related macular degeneration Wanjiku Mathenge, Community Eye Health. 2014; 27(87): 49–50.
  2. Pharmacokinetic evaluation of pegaptanib octasodium for the treatment of diabetic edema. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2014 Aug;10(8):1185-92.
  3. Morphision: A method for subjective evaluation of metamorphopsia in patients with unilateral macular pathology (i.e., full thickness macular hole and epiretinal membrane) Marta Ugarte,1,* Manoharan Shunmugam,2,* D Alistair H Laidlaw,2 and Tom H Williamson2, Indian J Ophthalmol. 2013 Nov; 61(11): 653–658.
  4. Treattment of visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Régnier S1, Malcolm W2, Allen F2, Wright J3, Bezlyak V1., PLoS One. 2014 Jul 16;9(7):e102309.
  5. Efficacy and timing of adjunctive therapy in the anti-VEGF treatment regimen for macular oedema in retinal vein occlusion: 12-month real-world result. Lip PL1, Cikatricis P1, Sarmad A1, Damato EM2, Chavan R1, Mitra A1, Elsherbiny S3, Yang Y4,5, Mushtaq B1., Eye (Lond). 2018 Mar;32(3):537-545. doi: 10.1038/eye.2017.230. Epub 2017 Nov 3.
  6. Surgical macular decompression for macular edema in retinal vein occlusion. Mandelcorn MS1, Mandelcorn E, Guan K, Adatia FA., Can J Ophthalmol. 2007 Feb;42(1):116-22.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 18, 2022

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