Conditions that Affect Peripheral Vision

By Jeffrey Schultz on September 05, 2017

An example of poor peripheral visionPeripheral vision is the field of vision that surrounds the central field of vision. It's the field of vision people refer to when they see something out of “the corner of their eye.” For those who have poor peripheral vision, it can feel like they are seeing the world through a tunnel.

At Lifetime Eye Care, we use the latest technology to provide comprehensive eye care and correct a wide range of vision problems, including poor peripheral vision. Part of treating poor peripheral vision requires determining the underlying condition causing vision issues. Let's take a closer look at some common conditions that affect peripheral vision. For more information, contact Cleveland, OH eye doctor Jeffrey E. Schultz. 

The Signs of Poor Peripheral Vision

Poor peripheral vision is characterized by difficulty seeing things outside of the central field of vision. Commonly called “tunnel vision,” poor peripheral vision can make it seem as though you're looking through a tunnel.

For some people with poor peripheral vision, central vision is unaffected. Other signs of poor peripheral vision may include difficulty seeing in low light, or difficulty with spatial awareness, which may impact the ability to walk.

Conditions that Affect Peripheral Vision

Poor peripheral vision has several potential causes, some of which include:

  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a condition in which fluid within the eye builds up and creates pressure. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, the nerve that sends information from the eye to the brain. Optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma is one of the most common causes of poor peripheral vision. As pressure builds within the eye and the optic nerve becomes more damaged, vision problems may extend beyond the peripheral vision and affect central vision, in some cases leading to complete vision loss.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa: Retinitis pigmentosa is a disorder that leads to retinal damage. With retinitis pigmentosa, the retina's ability to sense light may be impaired. This can lead to poor peripheral vision as well as difficulty distinguishing colors or seeing in the dark. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic condition that generally begins in early adulthood. Vision typically worsens with this condition, causing many to be legally blind by the time they've reached the age of 40.
  • Eye occlusions: Eye occlusions, also called eye strokes, can cause peripheral vision loss as occlusions block blood flow within the optic nerve and other structures of the eye.
  • Stroke: Strokes can also cause peripheral vision problems in addition to other vision issues. Rather than blocking blood flow within the eyes, strokes can damage portions of the brain responsible for processing vision.
  • Detached retina: Sudden changes in peripheral or central vision may be caused by a detached retina. A detached retina occurs when the retina is separated from the tissues that support it, causing the retina to stop functioning. A detached retina is serious and needs immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss.

Treatment for Poor Peripheral Vision

Unlike some vision issues, poor peripheral vision cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses. However, some people with poor peripheral vision may benefit from eyeglasses with prism lenses.

When it comes to improving poor peripheral vision, the best course of action is to determine the underlying cause of peripheral vision issues. Treating the underlying cause of poor peripheral vision can help prevent further damage and, in some cases, improve vision.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have poor peripheral vision, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schultz to learn more about your treatment options.

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