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Tunnel vision – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Tunnel vision?

Tunnel vision is the loss of one’s peripheral vision. A person may lose his or her peripheral vision on one or on the both sides of the visual field. Since peripheral vision loss affects vision in all directions (up or down and the sides), that it why it is called tunnel vision because a person is only left with the central vision.

Tunnel vision Symptoms

The symptoms of tunnel vision accompany other symptoms depending on the underlying cause of the condition. The following includes the common symptoms associated with tunnel vision:

  • The presence of glare or halo around lights
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Poor night vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Floating objects can be seen
  • Swelling of the eyes (one or both)
  • Headache and nausea (with or without vomiting)

The following are some serious symptoms that may pose life-threatening effects to the afflicted individual and are therefore considered a medical emergency:

  • Change in the level of consciousness, e.g., fainting
  • Change in mental alertness such as delirium, lethargy,
  • Abrupt behavioral changes such as confusion, hallucinations, and delusions
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden vision loss or pain in the eyes
  • Sudden body weakness or numbness at one side of the body

Tunnel vision Causes

Tunnel vision or peripheral vision loss can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions. Enumerated below are the different conditions and events that can lead to the loss of peripheral vision.

Common causes

  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Cataracts – this visual impairment is common among the elderly population and is characterized by clouding of the eye lens leading to poor night visions, halos around lights, and sensitivity to lights.
  • Migraines – zigzag patterns of lights are common before the onset of the headache.

Life-threatening causes

  • Brain tumor – the growing mass would eventually impede the nerves and the blood vessels carrying blood to the eyes, which will affect the function of this vital organ.
  • Glaucoma – in this visual problem, the optic nerve is damaged as a result form increased pressure in the eye.
  • Head trauma and eye injury– in this event, delicate structures around the eye such as the nerve, blood vessels, lenses, retina, etc can be severely damaged.
  • Retinal detachment – if the retina is being detached from its connecting blood vessels, oxygen and nutrients will no longer reach these areas, thus leading to visual problems.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa – this is hereditary degenerative condition of the retina.
  • Stroke – increased pressure in the head or near the orbital area can damage the nerves and blood vessels supplying nutrients to the eyes.

Potential complications

  • Brain damage
  • Blindness
  • Metastases
  • Coma

Tunnel vision Treatment

Treatment of tunnel vision is not that easy because it is not like using just any conventional eyeglasses; there is a special lens called prism that is used in addition to the prescribed eyeglasses and will somehow help manage the condition because it will expand the visual field for people who are suffering from tunnel vision.

If the person has glaucoma, it is always recommended to take his or her medication at regular interval to control eye pressure, and it should be prescribed by the physician. If an eye drop is to be used, make sure to use the eye drops when exactly needed. Long-standing and untreated glaucoma can surely lead to permanent loss of peripheral vision and even worse, blindness.

In recent studies, they found out that various vision therapy techniques may somehow help people in regaining some parts of their visual field, making them able to see much better.

If permanent loss f vision is the case, one can use a special eyewear or optical devices to at least help him or her with mobility problems associated with tunnel vision. This of course can be prescribed by a low vision specialist.

The eye is one very important organ in the body that we really need to take care of because once damaged, it will make or break our way of life.

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