Have you ever noticed something out of the corner of your eye, then seen the funniest, prettiest, or most exciting thing? Sometimes we see things in what we call our peripheral vision, and are lucky enough to catch sight of something that we would normally miss if we could only see head on.
Our peripheral vision is the ‘wide angle’ field of vision we all have. It really makes life easier because it allows us to spot hazards when walking or driving, see better in low light, and generally navigate yourself around.
But some people aren’t so lucky and suffer with loss of peripheral vision. This is a loss of the wide angle of vision while your central vision remains. You may have heard it referred to as tunnel vision, because the effect is one of looking through a tube.
Loss of peripheral vision is usually caused by damage to the optic nerve, which in turn is caused by glaucoma. However, it may also develop as a result of brain damage, eye strokes, concussion, a detached retina, or neurological damage.
Usually, the loss of vision is gradual and many people don’t always notice it immediately. Occasionally though, there may be a very sudden loss of peripheral vision. In these cases you should seek immediate medical attention as the cause may be a detached retina.
Unfortunately, there is no simple cure for this; glasses and contact lenses won’t work. Here, prevention definitely is the best ‘cure’. If you have glaucoma it is important to ensure you follow the treatment that is prescribed by your optician. Everyone should be vigilant in attending regular eye examinations to check that your eye health is in great condition too. This way, should there be any signs of a problem, your optician can spot them in the early stages and make sure there is as little damage to your vision as possible.
In some cases, a special prism can be added to your prescription to slightly expand your field of vision. This lens works to bend light in a different way to normal lenses. Other cases may benefit from vision therapy; especially if blind spots are a problem (these are often a result of head injury). If your loss of peripheral vision is permanent, your optician will be able to advise you on low vision aids to assist you in everyday life.
These low vision aids can help to enlarge print, magnify things for close-up work like sewing, or are over-sized to help you use everyday items like a telephone or a remote control more easily. At Eye Emporium we’re often asked about low vision aids and we have several favourites that we can recommend to anyone suffering with loss of peripheral vision.
If you don’t suffer from loss of peripheral vision then isn’t it worth taking precautions to make sure you don’t in future? There are specific eye exercises that you can do to help ‘train’ your peripheral vision to improve. In fact, many sports people undertake this type of exercise to help them up their game – almost a secret weapon against their opponents.
If you’re at all worried about losing your peripheral vision, glaucoma, or any other area of your eye health, speak to our experts at Eye Emporium. We can also advise you on low vision aids or eye exercises. Simply call us on 0800 020 9202; we’d be delighted to help.