Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:

5 year old with vision distortion "The Big/Little"

Posted by sarahscartozzi

My five year old son, otherwise healthy, has started having vision distortion problems which he explains as suddenly 'things look extremely small and/or far away or extremely large and/or very close.  the episodes are occuring 5-6 times per week any time of the day or evening and they are terrifying to him.  I had his eyes checked today and the MD said there are no problems with his eyes.  Have you heard of anything like this before?
Answers (31)
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first
My 5 year old son is having the exact same thing!!!  I've googled it and your question is the only thing I've found.  How is your son doing now?  Did you ever figure out what it is?  My son is freaking out!
That's weird!  MY 5 year old son has been saying exactly the same thing for the last couple of weeks!!! Has anyone discovered what this could be?

No, I haveen't been able to figure out what it is. As I said in my first post I took him to the eye Dr. and they couldn't find a thing wrong with his eyes. This actually happened for a short while to my older (9) son approx 3-4 months then just stopped.  It still occasionaly happens to my now 6 year old but now only at night shortly after he falls asleep.  His pediatrition had no answers either.  The only thing I can say is I spoke to my ex husband who instantly knew what the kids were talking about-he had this as a child.  So for both of you ladies maybe it is a heridetary thing and someone in your family had this as a child too? Ask around you might be surprised.  As a last note I'm pretty sure they grow out of it - my ex husband did and my nine year old also did.  So good luck and please let me know if you find any answers!



Thanks for your comments - they are really interesting.  I did ask a friend of mine in the UK who is an optomerist and she said that it is quite a common thing at that age as the muscles in kids eyes are still developing which fits in with what you were saying about your other son having it and then it passing!  I just can't believe that more people haven't posted it on the internet - you would think it was a more talked about ailment! Hopefully my son's episodes will disappear as quickly as they appeared!
hello, so glad to have found this 6 year old daughter is saying the exact same thing...that thingsthat are far away look like they are very close and things that are close look far away. she says it comes and goes. we just had her eyes checked a month ago and they said she had perfect vision. she did have a fever earlier this week and complained of being dizzy so i wasn't sure if the fever had anything to do with it.
I am so relieved to be reading this! My five year old is having the exact same visual distortions and I just haven't been able to figure it out. Luckily, my son is not freaked out by it though, he actually finds it quite amusing. I took him to the opticians last week about it and all his tests came out fine and the optician could offer no explanation other than "he probably wants to wear glasses like his friend does." Thank you so much for your posts, this has been puzzling me for weeks! I'm surprised opticians are not aware of it? I will mention it on my next appointment.
Thanks everyone, It's so nice to hear all the responses and know I wasn't the only one in the world.. This has since passed (basically) for my son who is now 7.  It happens only once or twice every 6 months or so.  So all I can say is other than the fear it caused him, it seems to be completely harmless.  This too shall pass! 
I'm so glad I found this post. My 6 year old is going through the same thing. It started when she was 5, very short lived, and now is back a year later. Has anyone learned anymore about this?
WOW!  I didn't know it was so common.  My 9yr old son had it about two years ago - lot of dr appts and nothing.  Said the nerves in eyes were maturing, or could be a migraine without the "pain".  It went away - and now ITS BACK!  He is having fun with it - its not freaking him out its freaking ME out.  Then he started complaining about is hearing - everything seems loud.  Sounds sorta like migraine symptoms.  Sounds like you ladies are telling me to chill out and be patient - growing pains?  Thanks. 


As far as my situation went, both my sons ended up having this "problem" and I would advise having his eyes checked, just to be safe.  Our eye Dr. found nothing, had never heard of this before nor had our peditrician.  Fortunately both boys have basically grown out of it.  Periodically the middle one - now eight years old who I originally posted this about - will complain that he is "seeing weird", but by this age he seems to be able to just close his eyes and make it go away by concentrating on other thoughts.  As I said in an earlier post my ex-husband knew immediately what the boys were experiencing as it was something he had himself as a child.  Interestingly enough my third son, from my second marriage has never had any sign of this "problem".  So I lean toward (and I'm no doctor, so it's just an opinion) that it's something heridetary that they perhaps got from their father.  Best I can tell you is try to find some calming excercise with your child when it is happening.  I would have my son curl up in his bed, close his eyes and while I rubbed his back I would talk about his favorite things to do, favorite places we have been, upcoming things he was really excited about..basically distract him from the event.  This mostly worked with his eyes closed, though sometimes he insisted on having them open.  Also as a last thought, with my boys, whenever this happened if they looked me or any other adult directly in the face it really seemed to cause it to become worse, much worse.  Try to see what works for your child, but if it sounds the same and you have been to the eye Dr. and the pediatration I really think he will grow out of it, given time.  Good Luck, let me know if there is anything else I can try to answer for you-did you read the post from Ros Armitage and the eye Dr. from the UK?  That may shed a little light.  Please let me know what happens, Good luck to you and your thoughts are with you.




Generally a migraine without the pain is an aura migraine. Does your son talk about seeing colors or spots of colors?  I definetly do not want you to chill out too much because the hearing part is something I did not experience with my sons.  Is he having any pain?  You mentioned this has returned after two years and I am not trying to overstep my boundries here but out of curiousity, have you had him back to the Dr. since it returned?  I'm just trying to figure out if your sons problem is the same since I haven't heard from anyone else about the sound part.  Did he experience the distortions of things looking extremely large and extremely small?  Please let me know when you get a chance.  Seems like there is definetly not enough information on the net about this.



My son just said the same thing, he had headaches this am so we kept him from school, he slept all day, he is 8.5yrs old. His fever spiked twice today to 103.. Just now he tells me he feels weird...his body looks big and everything looks small...or far away...after talking for 10min trying to get anything else out of him...the words "everything just looks small". So I decided to google and found this...I found other postings with notes for hallucinations but he's been very calm, I'm going to ask him if he sees colors. The headaches came back when the fevers would spike...
Well hey. 

I used to get this EXACT same thing as a little girl. The first time it happened to me, I was maybe 7 or 8 years old and I had a fever when it happened. I remember being really freaked out because it's a sudden change in perception and you know things aren't supposed to look that way. After my fever left, this would still happen to me on and off. I remember trying to tell my parents about it, but not having the words to explain it- just "everything looks really far away"- that's really the only way to describe it. What's more is it just gives you a weird feeling, like reality is being distorted and you're being detached in some sense. That's the biggest reason that it induced panic in me as a kid; it was just "off" and I didn't like it.

One of the comments mentioned that looking at a face seems to make the symptoms worse...very true. Sometimes I could sense it coming, and at these times I would avoid looking at anyone in the face because I knew I would see their head rapidly zooming out and shrinking, yet at once remaining the same size. It's hard to explain but it was really trippy and unpleasant. After that, this perception would "stick" and it was really hard to shake off. Sometimes I could subdue it by physically reaching out and touching something, but not always.

If this happened in the process of falling asleep, I would wind up having equally trippy and unpleasant dreams.

The important thing to note is this never affected my performance in any way. I could still tell the real size and distance of objects even when things looked "off".  It also had nothing to do with my physical vision. My parents took me to the optometrist and everything was dandy.

I'm now 19 years old and have long grown out of it. However, the zooming-out-feeling CAN resurface if I stare at a computer screen for too long, or I can make it happen by fixating on an object in a certain way. It takes a certain mindset too. But now that it's something I have control over, it happens very rarely and it doesn't freak me out the way it did when I was little.

Drawing on all of these comments, other online forums, and my own experiences, my hypothesis is this: It's more common than the medical field acknowledges. It's also nothing to be alarmed about. It's most likely a result of a child's brain growing and rewiring and sometimes in the process the brain hiccups and does weird things. They'll grow out of it. (Do be concerned, though, if it's accompanied by other unusual symptoms like headaches or sensitivity to sound or touch or etc.)

This was a long post and I doubt many people will read it, but I hope it helps in case anyone does (:
My 4 year old has been telling me that her "eyes get smaller and smaller". I cant get her to go any further in detail but its really starting to worry me. All I can think is cancer or tumors. Please ease my mind....Is this normal? Will it go away? Should I take her to the emergency room for MRI's and such....
my now 6 year old daughter has been having "the big and small" for a year now.. things grow big and then grow small. It is troubling to her but at time she says it's as bad as it can be, meaning it's happening really quick.. like a throbbing. She also has problems with sounds beening too loud. Things have been getting worse. She talks about the people in her head that count, she yells and screams about the grumpy man in her head. She has time where she is so confussed, simple things like she doesn't remember that she needs to wipe after going to the toilet. Needing to put socks on before schools. Not remembering childs she played with 2 days prior. At times not recognising me. So far we are still at a loss. She has been diagnosed and then cleared of.. Alice in wonderland syndrome caused by or causeing migraine, epilepsy, brain tumor, back to epilepsy, auto immune disease and conversion disorder. We have seen GP, Paeds, Specialist Paeds, Neurologist, Optomitrist, Optimologist, Kinesiologist and Psychiatrist and have got no where. The hullucinasions have stopped but the "big and small" is a daily issue and i really don't know where to turn now for help. She is getting more and more distressed as time goes on and l can't help her. What do i do??/
My 10 year old son has had a slight temp(38) recently due to a cold and experienced hallucinations on one occasion. This frightened my son but he fell asleep soon afterwards. Due to this cold he wasn't eating very much but was drinking a little. The next day my son was sitting watching tv and looked at me quite strangely, then looked around the living room, he said everything looked far away and was moving fast, I thought he was probably dehydrated as he hadnt drank much in the few days he was unwell, I gave him some water to sip. He also then said that everybody's voices seemed very loud, (he could even hear the clock ticking). These episodes of seeing things far way and moving fast and hearing noises loudly have been happening often these past few days. My son does wear glasses (only for close up work at school). When he is seeing things far away wearing his glasses doesnt help him. I am so so worried as to what this can be. Please help, I am so worried about my little boy.



My 7 year old daughter is complaining precise the same thing.

Did any one get closer to an answer about the reason?


If my daughter play Ipad it starts 10 minutes after she is finished.


Regards Henrik 

I didn't  think it too long at all, the more info the better. Thank You!

Dear Sarah,

The post from Ros Armitage does not work any more.

Do you by any chance have it as a file?


Best regards Henrik 


Dear Sarah,

Sorry, I misunderstood the thing about the post from Armitage.

It works fine.

Best regards Henrik 

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Post an answer
Write a comment: