Many people have heard the expression ‘eyes in the back of their head’. Often this actually refers to the seeming ability of some people-often mothers-to be able to see something even when they are not looking at it directly.
Unsurprisingly, women often have a much broader peripheral vision than men, allowing them to see out of the sides of their eyes, broadening their overall field of view.
Problems start to set in as we age, and even though many people don’t experience difficulty with their central vision, they lose that wide-angle field.
Moderate and severe cases of peripheral vision loss create the sensation of seeing through a narrow tube, a condition commonly referred to as "tunnel vision."
Symptoms of peripheral vision loss also can include difficulty seeing in dim light and decreased ability to navigate while you are walking; a sudden problem with special awareness and the need to refocus yourself.
A common cause of loss of peripheral vision (also called a peripheral field defect) is optic nerve damage from glaucoma.
Eye "strokes" (occlusions) that block normal blood flow to the eye's internal structures, including the optic nerve, also can lead to loss of peripheral vision.
A stroke or injury also may damage portions of the brain where images are processed, leading to blind spots in the visual field.
Basic causes of peripheral vision loss include:
• Retinitis pigmentosa
• Eye strokes or occlusions
• Detached retina
• Brain damage from stroke, disease or injury
• Neurological damage such as from optic neuritis
• Compressed optic nerve head (papilledema)
• Concussions (head injuries)
If you have a sudden decrease in peripheral vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Sudden loss of peripheral vision may indicate a detached retina, which is a medical emergency that must be treated as soon as possible to avoid permanent vision loss.
There are no easy options to correct permanent loss of peripheral vision. A type of lens known as a prism can be added to your glasses prescription to expand your field of view if you have certain types of peripheral vision loss.
If you have glaucoma, the best "cure" for tunnel vision is prevention. If eye drops are prescribed, you must take your glaucoma medication regularly to control high eye pressure, or you risk permanent optic nerve damage and development of blind spots in your visual field. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent loss of peripheral vision and even blindness.
Be aware that reduced peripheral vision may affect your ability to drive safely. You may not be allowed to drive at all, depending on how bad the tunnel vision has become.
To discover is a laser eye surgery procedure can help your vision problems, call Optilase on +353 1 223 8821 or see www.optilase.com