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Visual Disturbances: Micropsia / Macropsia

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without a doubt the scariest part of my gluten reaction is the perceptional disturbances that occur. It is a feeling that is hard to explain without the use of this original Alice in Wonderland picture


"Micropsia is a condition affecting human visual perception in which objects are perceived to be smaller than they actually are. Micropsia can be caused by either optical distortion of images in the eye (as by glasses or certain ocular conditions) or by a neurological dysfunction. The condition of micropsia can be caused by more factors than any other visual distortion.[1]

Factors known to cause micropsia include traumatic brain injury, swelling of the cornea, epilepsy, migraines, prescription and illicit drug use, retinal edema, macular degeneration, central serous chorioretinopathy, brain lesions, and psychological factors. Dissociative phenomena are linked with micropsia, which may be the result of brain lateralization disturbance.[2]

Related visual distortion conditions include macropsia, a less common condition with the reverse effect, and Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, a condition that has symptoms that can include both micropsia and macropsia."

Macropsia is objects and your own body feel bigger than they actually are.

One more "condition" (Aka, symptom) is a more combined form of perception distortion called Alice in Wonderland syndrome.

" The Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a result of change in perception as opposed to the eyes themselves malfunctioning. The hallmark sign of AIWS is a migraine (AIWS may in part be caused by the migraine).AIWS affects the sufferer's sense of vision, sensation, touch, and hearing, as well as one's own body image.

The most prominent and often most disturbing symptom is that of altered body image: the sufferer will find that he/she is confused as to the size and shape of parts of (or all of) his/her body.

The eyes themselves are normal, but the sufferer 'sees' objects with the wrong size or shape or finds that perspective is incorrect. This can mean that people, cars, buildings, etc., look smaller or larger than they should be, or that distances look incorrect; for example a corridor may appear to be very long, or the ground may appear too close.

Similar to the lack of spatial perspective, the sufferer also loses a sense of time. That is, time seems to pass very slowly, akin to an LSD experience. The lack of time, and space, perspective thus leads to a distorted sense of velocity, since one is missing the two most important parts of the equation. For example, one could be inching along ever so slowly in reality, yet it would seem as if one were sprinting uncontrollably along a moving walkway, leading to severe, overwhelming disorientation. This can then cause the sufferer to feel as if movement, even within their own home, is futile."

I remember when I was a child I have have attacks of these. In general I had this feeling all of the time at a lower level and it would cause me to be what people call "clumsy" (running into walls, tripping, no balance, whatever), but the times when I would have attacks things would be greatly distorted and I would feel like that alice in wonderland pictures, and I would feel like I can't breath because my body is being pushed against the ceiling and time would seemingly just cease to move as well. There were other times when I would feel like I am running at full speed but going nowhere, while I'm perfectly still. Along with it comes a sense of panic, helplessness, being unable to escape.

I find it extremely hard to look at that because it reminds me of those scary moments.

How common is this, because I have found it to be directly related to gluten (I am guessing brain swelling) because my mom and I both have it only when we eat gluten, and sometimes other allergens. Whatever this is made me a very fearful child and my childhood seems kind of night-marish, I'm really glad that I'm able to look on it and see now that it's totally controllable and abnormal and that I don't have to live in "Warp World" ever again :) And most others don't either, i'm guessing!

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Oh wow! I have never heard of this before at all! Thank you for posting about it. I'm afraid I definitely can't offer anything useful, but l really hope you find some helpful answers too.

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Wow, that's freaky and must have been terrifying, but also fascinating! (I was on my way to being a cognitive psychology professor before my mental and physical health declined from what I now know is celiac disease.) I have never heard of things like this before beyond, as you've said LSD/other hallucinogens or brain damage, so I'm guessing it's not very common.

However I suppose it's possible that some things diagnosed as schizophrenia where people have similar symptoms exist and they have no idea it could be due to gluten. Certainly many things that we now know as toxic in large amounts, like lead and aluminum, can make people 'crazy'. Mental illnesses have all sorts of categorizations that seem half arbitrary/don't fit well, and mentall illnesses themselves are very common.

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