Seamless pattern of various lines and zigzags Common vision problems like short-sightedness are easily corrected these days with spectacles, contact lenses or quick and inexpensive laser surgery.
However, when vision is disturbed in other ways like clouding, narrowing or even blurring that cannot be corrected with lenses or surgery, we often get concerned about the more serious eye-related problems. There is a limitation to human vision but well-lit images that are within a reasonable distance should be ‘crisp and clear’.
At other times wavy or zigzag lines may surround an isolated spot of distorted vision. Light enters through the cornea (the clear front part of the eyeball) where it is partially bent (refraction).
It is then further bent by the lens to ensure that a clear image is focused on the retina, the inner lining of the eye. The light stimulates receptors in the retina, which is then converted into nerve impulses that are relayed to the brain.
It is in the visual centers within the brain that these impulses are ‘decoded’ to provide the sense of vision. Although there are many conditions that may cause visual disturbances which could be described as wavy, the two conditions where wavy lines is a distinct symptom are macular degeneration and ocular migraines.
Visual disturbances are usually constant and worsen over time in macular degeneration, but it is episodic meaning that it comes and goes in ocular migraines. Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disorder where the macular gradually deteriorates.
Age is one of the major risk factors and the condition most commonly occurs in older people. Difficulty adapting to changes in light intensity (bright to dim and vice versa).
Inability to read or do other close activities without bright light (dim vision). The seriousness and prevalence of macular degeneration means that it should first be excluded when wavy lines in the vision appear.
The exact cause of ocular migraines is unknown, but it is thought to be associated with spasms of the retinal blood vessels or disturbances in the nerves carrying impulses from the retina. As with macular degeneration, wavy lines are not the only visual symptom of ocular migraine.
It is important to note that flashing lights and blind spots are common symptoms of an aura that may precede a migraine headache. Since the visual disturbance is temporary and does not cause any long term complications, specific treatment is usually not necessary.
Firstly a combination of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) may slow down or prevent the condition from getting worse. Some people with advanced cases may be suitable for the implantation of telescopic lenses.
It may involve laser surgery or the injection of drugs into the eye which can then destroy the leaky blood vessels. A zigzag is a pattern made up of small corners at variable angles, though constant within the zigzag, tracing a path between two parallel lines ; it can be described as both jagged and fairly regular.
Although the origin of the word is unclear, its first printed appearances were in French-language books and ephemera of the late 17th century. Lightning and other electrical hazards are often depicted with a zigzag design, with long downward strokes and short backward ones.
Pinking shears are designed to cut cloth or paper with a zigzag edge, to lessen fraying. Zigzags are a basic decorative pattern used on pottery, and are often seen in the cuts which separate pieces of ravioli pasta.
We see the world around us through a visual mechanism that involves complex interactions between various structures in our eyes and our brain. Upon receiving the light, the photoreceptors in the retina generate electric nerve signals that travel to the brain, where they are finally put together in a mysterious way to create the sensation of seeing.
It is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) because it causes a progressive loss of central vision in the elderly. Metamorphosis or wavy lines in the vision is a characteristic feature of macular degeneration.
Apart from metamorphosis, patients with AMD also show the following visual disturbances: Central spot in the visual field progressively becomes blank, which makes it difficult to read, recognize faces and follow road signs.
When symptoms such as wavy lines in the vision first appear, it is important to first check if macular degeneration is happening. However, it is thought to result from an infarct or spasm occurring in the blood vessels of the retina.
Pathological myopia refers to extreme short-sightedness that is characterized by major changes in the shape of the eyes. Apart from visual disturbances, vision loss is also a common outcome of this disease.
This condition is characterized by atrophy and scarring of the regions adjacent to the optic disc in the eye. It is presumed to be caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsular and can lead to vision loss in affected individuals.
The treatment options for wavy lines in the vision vary according to the underlying cause. However, these conditions can still be managed to some extent by slowing down the progression of the underlying disease.
There is no cure for macular degeneration, which is a frequent cause of wavy lines in the vision. A treatment with nutritional supplements such as a combination of vitamins and minerals may be prescribed to slow down the degeneration process.
Patients who are smokers should speak to a doctor or a pharmacist before opting for this treatment with nutritional supplements. These include laser surgery and injection of drugs into the eyes to destroy the leaky blood vessels.
Choroidal rupture is treated with anti-bug drugs that prevent proliferation of blood vessels. Monoclonal antibodies against the VEGA are also used to treat both choroidal rupture and wet macular degeneration.
Treatment of multifocal thyroiditis includes corticosteroid and immunomodulatory therapies. Treatments for presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome are not very effective at the moment.