Tunnel vision

Tunnel vision

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Tunnel vision is the condition where the sufferer has difficulty seeing objects at the edges of the normal field of vision and can only properly focus on objects in a narrow, "tunnel-like" field.

The condition has implications on the person's freedom of movement, having to turn their head this way and that way just to avoid stumbling into objects, even in a small room. A person with tunnel vision may not even be able to drive, and tests of a person's peripheral vision are usually a pre-requisite before they can be given a driving license. Some cases of tunnel vision, if left untreated, could result in total blindness. There are quite a number of causes of tunnel vision and just about anybody could be susceptible to the condition.

Tunnel vision, sometimes also called "peripheral vision loss" is one of those disabilities that could have fatal implications for the sufferer, and if you have reason to believe that you have tunnel vision you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The chances of tunnel vision being reversed are quite slim in most cases, but if the treatment is started early, aggravation of the condition to a more severe stage, or to total blindness may be prevented.

The condition itself cannot kill you, but it puts you at great risk of being run down when crossing the road, for example, or if you operate certain types of machinery, and from driving accidents.

Tunnel vision can be caused by a host of medical and biological conditions ranging from blood loss, alcohol consumption through to mercury poisoning and a bite from a black mamba (a type of poisonous snake).

Other risk factors:

    Damage to the optic nerve: The optic nerve transmits signals from the eyes to the brain. Any damage to the optic nerve, either through trauma or disease, can cause tunnel vision to occur. Glaucoma is a fairly common eye disease that can damage the optic nerve by increasing the intraocular pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is associated with a slow but steady loss of peripheral vision, and can lead to blindness if left untreated.

  • Damage to the retina: Damage to the peripheral areas of your retina can affect your peripheral vision. A condition called retinitis pigmentosa is known to cause tunnel vision by damaging the retina, but it is quite rare.

  • Damage to the brain: A stroke or loss of blood to the brain can also result in a loss of peripheral vision.

The leading causes of the condition are listed below:


  • Blocked vessels in the eye.

  • Strokes affecting the brain.

  • A detached retina.

  • Alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs.

  • Severe cataract.


Loss of peripheral vision may be a symptom of some of the conditions that cause a generalized loss of vision. Other symptoms included difficulty seeing in dim light and decreased ability to navigate while you are walking.


Once you have realized that you have tunnel vision, it is highly encouraged to visit an eye doctor for a visual field testing, which can search out the position of potential blind spots. Through such a test, tunnel visioncan be diagnosed and proper control should follow. Unlike common vision problems such as myopia and hyperopia, peripheral vision problems can not be cured or corrected simply by conventional eyeglasses or contact lenses.


Treatment for tunnel vision depends on the cause. In the case of glaucoma, early detection and treatment can halt the loss of peripheral vision altogether, in any case, it is important to be seen by an expert as soon as possible if you have tunnel vision.

If you suffer from tunnel vision, or are concerned about glaucoma, make an appointment with an expert at Eye Hospital. Your specialist eye doctor will be able to diagnose your condition, and recommend treatment that could save your sight.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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