What is Peripheral Vision Loss?

Published on
February 3, 2022

A person's vision is divided into two parts, peripheral vision and central vision. Central vision would be the macula area of the retina. An individual with macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy would have an impact on their central vision. Peripheral vision is just as important as central vision. Peripheral vision is the side vision of the eye which allows a person to look on both sides while looking straight at an object.

 

How Peripheral Vision Impacts One's Life

The importance of peripheral vision in daily life cannot be overstated. It impacts many of our daily activities such as driving, walking, and reading. It is not only important to see what's in front of you when driving, but it is also important to see what's on your side too. The risk of a car accident is drastically increased if you are unable to see your left and right lanes. Likewise, someone running or walking both outside and indoors with poor peripheral vision is at risk of falling. A common risk for someone who experiences peripheral vision loss after a stroke is difficulty getting around without tripping or falling.  

 

What Causes Peripheral Vision Loss?

Peripheral vision loss can be caused by many conditions such as: 

  • Glaucoma
  • Detached retina
  • Concussions
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Strokes
  • Inoperable Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Thyroid Eye Disease

 

What is it like to have peripheral vision loss? 

Having damage to the peripheral retina results in a constriction of the periphery, not allowing patients to see perfectly clearly what is on their side vision. A person with peripheral vision loss would see everything as if they are looking at it through a straw or a keyhole or tunnel hence the name tunnel vision.

Other symptoms may include: 

  • The sensation of having a curtain or “spider-web” off to the side of the central visual field (the region of the deficit).
  • The sensation of “light shimmering” followed by a period of tunnel vision.  

 

What should you do if you have peripheral vision loss? 

If you or a loved one is experiencing peripheral vision loss, you should schedule a low vision exam with a low vision optometrist. During the exam the low vision optometrist will assess your vision as well as the difficulties that you experience from that vision loss. The eye doctor will then help you understand the best tools, devices, and resources for regaining your independence and safely navigating during your day. 

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