Tunnel Vision

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Peripheral vision refers to your ability to see to either side of you while looking straight ahead. Tunnel visionrefers to a reduction or loss of this ability. Without the ability to see to either side, the ability to maneuver while walking or driving becomes severely impaired. In some cases, tunnel vision becomes so severe that you cannot drive at all. Unfortunately, in many cases, this loss of vision is permanent.

What Might Lead to Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision is not an illness or syndrome in itself, but occurs as a side effect of several different types of illness or injury. Some of the problems that lead to tunnel vision—also known as peripheral vision lossaffect the eye itself, while others stem from problems with or injury to the retina, optic nerve, or even the brain.

Conditions that can lead to minor or severe tunnel vision include:

  • Brain injury
  • Stroke
  • "Eye strokes" that reduce blood flow to the eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Concussion
  • Retinal detachment

The most common cause of tunnel vision is glaucoma. This condition occurs when the pressure on the inside of the eyeball becomes elevated. The exact causes of glaucoma remain unknown, but a variety of treatments exists, including medications and specialized surgery designed to reduce the interior pressure of the eyeball.

Can Tunnel Vision be Cured?

The outlook for any individual case of tunnel vision depends upon what caused the problem to occur in the first place. If peripheral vision is lost due to glaucoma, the loss cannot be reversed. However, the progression of the vision loss can be greatly slowed by glaucoma treatment, ensuring that you will retain your remaining peripheral vision as long as possible.

Tunnel vision that occurs suddenly is usually due to an injury to the eye. Again, the type of injury that triggers the vision loss determines how much vision can be restored or if it can be restored at all. For example, if a detached retina is treated immediately with surgery, much if not all of your vision is likely to return. Other situations, such as eye injury, strokes or concussion, must be evaluated on an individual basis.


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Sara Goldstein has 1 articles online

For more information about tunnel vision, its causes and treatment, please visit the website of Dr. James Kelly, New York City area LASIK eye surgeon.


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Tunnel Vision

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This article was published on 2011/05/13