Help! I have been told I have Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS)

I am seeing objects larger than they are (AIWS)

If you’re seeing objects larger than they are then you may have Macropsia. Otherwise known as Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS), this kind of visual distortion can be associated with a migraine or epilepsy.

You may see certain objects as far bigger than usual, although others may stay the same size. For example, you may see your leg and foot as giant-sized, yet the rest of your body remains in proportion.

These visual distortions can lead to anxiety and may impact on your ability to make decisions.

close objects appear further away

So, what does it mean if you’re seeing objects larger than they are and when do you need to consult a doctor?

5 common causes for seeing things bigger than they really are

1. Epilepsy

Macropsia or AIWS has been linked to neurological disorders like epilepsy. Visual hallucinations may be controlled with the relevant medication, although some anti-seizure medication has actually been found to cause visual distortions.

2. Migraine

Seeing objects larger than they are may also be associated with the symptoms of a migraine. Taking painkillers as soon as you feel an attack coming on and lying in a darkened room can help to control the symptoms.

You can also try changing your diet – eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and have five smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid any foods that you know will trigger a migraine.

Read more about how migraines can affect your vision

3. Brain injuries

Brain injuries can cause visual distortions like seeing objects larger or smaller than usual. An MRI scan or EEG will help to make detailed images of the brain and establish if there is any sign of abnormal activity that could cause AIWS.

4. Over the counter treatments

Some over-the-counter treatments for colds and allergies can cause visual distortions like seeing objects larger than they really are. If you’re experiencing AIWS, stop taking them immediately.

5. Eye defects

If you’re seeing objects larger than they really are this may have something to do with damage to the retina, which is the lens that sits at the back of the eye.

If this becomes abnormally stretched or scarred, you may experience visual distortions. Surgery can be used to correct the damage.

When should I see my doctor?

If you persistently see objects larger than they really are, you should see your doctor and ask to be referred to a neurologist. They can test for underlying causes of AIWS, including a migraine and epilepsy.

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