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Conditions that Cause Poor Peripheral Vision

By David Gross on August 29, 2017


An example of poor peripheral visionPeripheral vision is what you see outside of the central field of vision; it makes up the largest portion of the visual field. When peripheral vision becomes impaired, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition and should not be ignored.

At Deen-Gross Eye Centers, we offer a full range of eye care services to diagnose and treat vision problems, including poor peripheral vision. Today, we'll take a closer look at some of the most common conditions that cause poor peripheral vision. If you have peripheral vision problems, contact our Merrillville, IN eye center to learn more about your treatment options.

The Symptoms of Poor Peripheral Vision

When peripheral vision is impaired, central vision may be fine but seeing things outside of your central field of vision may be difficult. Many who experience peripheral vision loss describe the condition as looking through a tunnel, which is why peripheral vision loss is often referred to as “tunnel vision.”

Other symptoms of peripheral vision loss include difficulty walking because peripheral vision also helps with sense of motion and spatial awareness. Peripheral vision loss can also make it difficult to see in low light conditions.

What Conditions Cause Poor Peripheral Vision?

In most cases, peripheral vision loss is a side effect of an underlying health condition. The most common conditions that cause poor peripheral vision are glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.

Glaucoma is a disease in which fluid builds up within the eye and creates pressure. Over time, this pressure can damage the optic nerve, which is the nerve that sends visual information from the eye to the brain. The more damaged the optic nerve becomes, the greater damage to peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause a complete loss of vision. Treating glaucoma early is the best way to protect eyesight.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder that causes damage to the retina. The retina is the portion of the eye that is responsible for sensing light. As a result, those with retinitis pigmentosa may have difficulty seeing at night and differentiating between colors. The symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa generally begin in early adulthood and leaves most with this condition legally blind by the time they reach their 40s.

Other conditions that can cause problems with peripheral vision include:

  • Optic nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Detached retina
  • Optic neuritis

Treating Poor Peripheral Vision

Poor peripheral vision can't be improved with regular eyeglasses, but may be improved with a prism lens depending on the type of peripheral vision loss.

The best option for treating poor peripheral vision requires testing to determine the underlying cause. Once a cause is determined, the appropriate treatment can be determined. For example, those with glaucoma may be given medication to control eye pressure and prevent vision damage.

In circumstances where loss of peripheral vision is sudden, it may be a sign of a detached retina. Detached retinas require immediate medical attention to avoid permanent vision damage. In the event of sudden loss of peripheral vision, an eye doctor should be seen immediately.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about treatment options for poor peripheral vision or other vision problems, we welcome you to schedule a consultation today.

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