Healthy eyes do more than just allow you to change focus from near to far and back again. Indeed, they also let you take in things that are at the edge of your central vision. There are some eye diseases and conditions that can affect your peripheral vision, causing it to gradually narrow.
In some cases, a person experiencing peripheral vision loss might not notice a problem at first. I mean how often do you really make it a point to measure or assess the periphery of your sight? Yet, over time they may notice that they are viewing the world more and more as if they were looking through a peephole!
Insights On Peripheral Vision
Peripheral vision is typically defined as everything you see off to the side of your central focus while you are looking straight ahead. It is essentially your ability to see things without moving your eyes or turning your head.
Tunnel vision is the term most commonly associated with a significant amount of peripheral vision loss. There is more than one thing that can contribute to a problem like this. Eye disease, eye injuries, and other conditions can affect your peripheral vision on their own, or multiple factors can all contribute to a loss of peripheral vision.
Common Causes Of Peripheral Vision Loss
Damage to the optic nerve, the retina or the regions of the brain that process visual stimuli can all contribute to or be the primary cause of peripheral vision loss. These are often acute events where the patient notices a short-term change.
Yet there are more common causes, that can develop gradually, or without any directly associated trauma. While you can certainly lose peripheral vision at any age, elderly people are more likely to be affected by peripheral vision loss. Also known as tunnel vision, the effect may be temporary, and reversible with timely treatment. Yet some causes of peripheral vision loss are permanent.
Seeking diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible, can improve your treatment options, treatment success rates, or simply arrest the loss of peripheral vision before it has a chance to worsen.
Glaucoma is one of the more common causes of peripheral vision loss. This is due to the increased pressure that gradually accumulates inside the retina. As time goes on it ultimately damages more and more of the optic nerve, which results in a permanent loss of peripheral vision.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a disease that causes progressive damage to the cells in the retina, thus reducing its ability to transmit visual information to your brain.
Cataracts is essentially caused by a gradual clumping together of the special proteins that make up the lens of the eye. This creates a cloudy area which increasingly builds up in the lens.
Ocular Migraine scan sometimes be painless. Yet unlike typical migraines, they can potentially lead to a loss of peripheral vision.
A Detached Retina
A Detached Retina is a strange phenomenon where the sensitive cells at the back of the retina peel away. This might be related to another eye condition or an acute traumatic event.
A Stroke can occur in the regions of the brain that receive and process visual information, leading to a loss of peripheral vision, as well as other vision problems.
Choroideremia is a relatively rare genetic condition which can cause a person to a gradually lose their vision loss. It tends to start with the peripheral vision and work its way toward the eye’s central focus.
Beware Peripheral Vision Loss Symptoms
Depending on the cause tunnel vision, or the loss of peripheral vision can sometimes develop gradually. Early signs might go unnoticed or accidentally dismissed. If you notice any of the following, you should schedule an eye exam at your earliest convenience.
- Seeing an artificial glare or halo surrounding a light
- An unusual change in the size of your pupils
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble seeing at night
- Swelling, soreness, or redness with one or both eyes
- Other less obvious symptoms might also include things like: chronic headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Peripheral Vision Testing
There are comprehensive tests that can be performed to determine the extent and underlying cause of the loss of peripheral vision. Your symptoms and the suspected cause will influence the type of your eye doctor recommends.
An Automated Perimetry Test
An Automated Perimetry Test call for you to sit in front of a dome with a small object at its center. You will need to stare at it and then press a button anytime you see flashes of light at the edge of your vision.
A Confrontation Visual Field Test
A Confrontation Visual Field Test Calls for you to sit in front of your eye doctor. You will cover one eye at a time while staring straight ahead, and you will need to indicate anytime you see their hand moving toward you.
A Tangent Screen or Goldman Field Test
A Tangent Screen or Goldman Field Test requires you sitting about three feet from a special screen with a target in its middle. You will then tell the doctor anytime you see something moving toward the target from the periphery of your vision.
These basic tests don’t require any special preparations or technical equipment. They are early indicators of a problem and may help guide your eye doctor in determining if more sophisticated diagnostics are required.
Peripheral Vision Loss Treatment
The source of your peripheral vision loss will directly influence the treatment strategy your eye doctor recommends. With some of these cases the damage might be reversible, yet with most, even the most effective treatment still will not be able to restore your full peripheral vision.
With some cases of peripheral vision loss, the initial damage is permanent and the most that can be done is to treat the underlying cause in hopes of slowing the peripheral damage loss or hopefully being to arrest further progress.
Your eye doctor might also recommend additional lifestyle changes you can make to help. This might include exercise modification, changes in diet, and perhaps seeing a specialist to treat another medical condition which could have an impact on the health of your eyes. The “loss” is temporary and the patient’s vision will return to normal.