Central Vision Loss

The following article addresses various aspects of central vision loss with an overall look at the causes, signs, effects, and available interventions for people living with reduced central vision.

How Does Low Vision Affect Central Vision?

One of the more common forms of visual impairment affects central vision, which is responsible for detecting shapes and fine details.A loss or diminishment of central vision creates reliance on one's peripheral vision, which lacks the ability to discern detail, but is essential for mobility. As a result of this visual deficiency, everyday activities and daily living become difficult. 

In the earliest onset of this form of visual impairment, the central part of people’s vision may appear blurry or appear to be missing details. This makes activities such as reading or using a computer or cell phone difficult or impossible without help. As the condition worsens, these deficits will appear as blank or blind spots. For example, this may manifest as an inability to see a friend’s face up close as a result of this impairment, while retaining the ability to see the rest of the person

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Causes of Central Vision Loss

There are various causes of central vision loss involving degenerative eye disorders, however, the primary cause is usually as a result of damage to the macula section of the retina, which is responsible for our ability to discern detail.

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): This is a primary cause of central vision loss that occurs as people age, where macular erosion leads to visual deficits in either one or both eyes. 
  • Inoperable cataracts: Central vision loss from inoperable cataracts require low vision interventions, unlike other types of cataracts that can be corrected surgically.
  • Glaucoma: An ocular condition that can lead to blindness, caused by the pressure of fluid build-up. 
  • Diabetic retinopathy: A degenerative eye disorder caused by diabetes that affects the retina.



Additional factors affecting the macula that can cause central vision loss include the following conditions. A healthy macula is flat so distortions in shape or contour such as wrinkling, erosion, or swelling may cause central vision loss.

  • Macular pucker: A form of wrinkling of the macula.
  • Macular hole: An erosional hole or tear in the macula.
  • Macular edema: In this form of macular degeneration, swelling from leakage of blood vessels causes central vision loss. 

It is important to note that it is equally important to attend to these conditions before they degenerate and affect other aspects of vision and overall health. In the case of diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic conditions, attending to those conditions will benefit overall health.

Signs of Central Vision Loss

Signs of Central Vision Loss

As with many ocular conditions, the signs are not always apparent. Early detection is critical so that treatments and interventions can slow its progression. Always speak with an optometrist to determine how frequently you should schedule eye exams. Depending on your health and family history, you may require more routine exams. Possible signs of vision loss should be attended to right away. Contact our low vision optometrist if you have reason to believe that you are experiencing central vision loss.
Warning signs include:

  • Difficulty in discerning details or faces
  • Difficulty with shapes
  • Blurred vision
  • A blind spot or blank spots
  • Medical conditions or medications that are know to cause central vision loss
Signs of Central Vision Loss

Testing and Treatment

A low vision optometrist is trained to assess ocular health for signs of central vision loss. A popular test low vision optometrists use to assess for central vision loss is the Amsler Grid exam where straight lines appear wavy to those with central vision loss.

Although low vision is irreversible, vision aids and rehabilitation can help maximize remaining vision and improve the overall quality of life. Central vision loss is often treated with optical and non-optical devices, prisms, medication, assistive technologies, and vision rehabilitation.


Caring for Central Vision Loss

Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment are essential for preventing the condition that causes central vision loss from advancing. Ocular complications are difficult to detect so routine examinations are required to monitor overall eye health. Central vision is responsible for detecting shapes and fine details. As a result of this deficiency, daily living becomes difficult. People with central vision loss will have difficulty reading, using the computer or phone, and discerning faces. If you suspect that you or someone you know has central vision loss, contact our low vision optometrist to schedule an examination.

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Central Vision Loss

The following article addresses various aspects of central vision loss with an overall look at the causes, signs, effects, and available interventions for people living with reduced central vision. Patients with low vision visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of low vision services for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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