Tunnel vision refers to the loss of peripheral (side) vision while central vision remains intact. As the field of vision narrows and the ability to see through the outer edges of the visual field are lost, it can create the sensation of looking through a peephole or a dark tunnel.
If you have developed peripheral vision loss, it can affect your life in myriad ways. You might have trouble navigating as you walk or drive, or worry that you will get into an accident or walk into someone.
In this post, Dr. Ernest Kornmehl of Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates pulls back the curtain on the causes and treatments for tunnel vision.
Various Causes of Peripheral Vision Loss
Glaucoma is a disease caused by an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye. Eventually, this increased pressure can damage the optic nerve (the nerve that transmits information from the eye to the brain), resulting in blind spots throughout the visual field. Peripheral vision is the first to be lost in glaucoma.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare disease that targets and damages the light-sensitive cells of the retina. This results in vision loss, usually beginning with peripheral vision loss.
If the retina detaches from its normal position at the back of the eye, it can lead to peripheral vision loss.
An eye stroke, or blockage in the arteries or veins in the retina, can cause temporary or permanent peripheral vision loss. Strokes or injuries to the part of the brain that processes images can also lead to peripheral vision loss.
Peripheral Vision Loss Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no viable way to restore peripheral vision lost to diseases like glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa. For this reason, Dr. Kornmehl encourages you to stay on top of your eye health with regular comprehensive eye exams and manage any existing eye problems. For instance, if you have glaucoma and it is caught early, you can take medication to reduce eye pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve (and related vision loss).
If you have permanent peripheral vision loss and related mobility issues, a low vision specialist can suggest special eyewear or optical devices that might help you.
Contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates
If you have questions about tunnel vision or the eye diseases that cause it, Dr. Kornmehl is here to help. Contact our Boston office today to get in touch with Dr. Kornmehl.