Peripheral vision loss is when someone has a hard time seeing things to the side. While they can focus and visualize straight ahead, they may not be able to see what's around the target or thing that they are focusing on.

What are some examples of peripheral vision?

  • When walking someone who has a deficit in their peripheral vision may bump into walls or people as they dont see the things around them.
  • A baseball pitcher needs excellent peripheral vision. This is because they are looking straight ahead at the batter but need to be aware if someone is stealing a base using their peripheral vision.
  • When we drive we use our central vision to see what is going on in front of the car while being mindful of what is happening to our sides using our peripheral vision.
  • If someone is at the park and they are reading a book, and are distracted by a bird flying in the sky, that is because they are using their peripheral vision.

What are the symptoms of peripheral vision loss?

The following are common signs or indicators of peripheral vision loss. It should be noted that there are people who experience no symptoms.

  • Tunnel vision
  • Veil/Curtain
  • Light shimmering
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Mobility issues such as bumping into things
  • Night-blindness
  • Tripping over objects

What medical conditions can cause peripheral vision loss?

Peripheral vision loss can be caused by a number of medical conditions. Each in a different way. Following are some medical conditions that can cause peripheral vision loss:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: When you have diabetic retinal changes, peripheral vision loss tend to be more in patches as opposed to tunnel vision.
  • Advanced glaucoma: It can also cause peripheral vision changes. The condition results from excessive intraocular pressure from fluid. It can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.
  • Brain aneurysms put pressure on the optic nerve in the brain, affecting vision. There are a variety of visual symptoms associated with cerebral aneurysms, including loss of peripheral vision.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa: This includes several types of congenital eye complications which affect the retina.
  • Strokes: Oftentimes a person who has a stroke will have part of their peripheral vision impacted, for example hemianopsia is a condition following a stroke where half of the visual field is missing.
  • Ocular migraine and vitreous floaters may impair peripheral vision. While these causes cause less serious vision loss than those listed above, you should schedule a low vision consultation if you are experiencing vision loss due to them.

How can peripheral vision loss be treated?

There are primarily two effective ways to assist peripheral vision loss:

  • Prisms: The prism shifts the image from the peripheral to the central view, resulting in vision. There are several advantages to choosing this option, including the fact that the results are usually instantaneous, effective, and relatively inexpensive.
  • Neuro-Optometric rehabilitation: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation allows the brain to learn how to expand its field of vision. The goal of such a program is to maximize the remaining vision of a person by learning new strategies.
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