Tunnel Vision - Causes, Prevention and When To Seek Help

Sid S

Published on July 15, 2021, 11:48 am

Tunnel Vision - Causes, Prevention and When To Seek Help

You look straight at your goal and do not think about anything else. While figurative tunnel vision is an enviable quality, literal tunnel vision can be quite serious.

This condition refers to the loss of peripheral vision. You can see clearly only in a straight direction. Anything out of your field vision appears blurry or, in severe cases, dark. You will feel as if you are seeing through a tunnel and hence the name tunnel vision. A synonym for this eye condition is peripheral vision loss.

What is Tunnel Vision?

Tunnel Vision or peripheral vision is an eye condition that can be a symptom of many eye diseases. If you notice such changes in your vision, you should consult with your eye doctor. This eye condition can be temporary or permanent. This can also lead to permanent vision loss if not attended to.

It can start with slight vision loss. You will not notice it at first, especially if you are a prescription glasses wearer. With glasses, it is common to get tunnel vision. You can see clearly only in the straight direction as you can see straight through the glasses. You see blurry images out of the glasses zone. You will not notice when your peripheral vision starts getting deteriorated.

What Can Cause Tunnel Vision?

Tunnel vision in one or both eyes is a symptom and not an eye disease itself. Many eye diseases or other underlying health conditions can cause you to have tunnel vision. You will suffer from tunnel vision if you have -

  • Glaucoma - It damages the optic nerves and affects vision. It starts by affecting the peripheral vision and progresses to central vision. If not treated, this can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa - It is a genetic disease that can lead to loss of vision. You will have trouble seeing in the dark. It will lead to loss of peripheral vision. This is a progressive disease, and the onset is often in childhood.
  • Pituitary Tumours - Or any brain tumour that affects the optic nerves. Because of the nerve damage, it becomes difficult for your eyes to focus on the periphery of your sight.
  • Cataracts - The cloudy area in the lens of the eyes can affect your peripheral and central vision.
  • Usher Syndrome - A rare genetic disorder that causes deafblindness.

Temporary physical conditions like excessive bleeding, alcohol consumption, consuming the hallucinogenic drug, stimulant drugs or getting panic attacks can cause you to have tunnel vision. An increase in adrenaline level because of excitement, a fight or flight situation can give you temporary tunnel vision. You might experience peripheral vision loss in high altitudes, for instance, while travelling on an aeroplane.

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When to Seek Medical Assistance?

Temporary peripheral vision loss doesn’t require any medical attention. It returns to normal after some time or when the abnormal physical conditions turn back to normal.

You should consult a doctor when your eye condition stays the same for more than an hour. Seek out medical attention if your eye condition remains the same for 20-60 minutes, accompanied by these symptoms -

  • You have a severe headache suddenly
  • You have difficulty walking or standing
  • You feel numbness in your arms, legs or your face
  • You feel confused suddenly

How to Prevent Tunnel Vision?

Peripheral vision loss because of incurable syndromes or diseases is difficult to prevent. With proper treatment, the severity of vision loss can be reduced. For other causes, you can try these solutions -

  • Get a regular eye test or comprehensive eye test. Getting frequent checkups can detect any eye diseases in the early stages. You can get the treatment sooner and save your eyesight.
  • Eat a healthy diet. If you have diabetes, keep tabs on your blood sugar levels.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, no smoking or excessive liquor consumption.
  • Wear sunglasses when going outdoors. You can protect your eyes from excessively bright light and UV rays.
  • Avoid straining your eyes. Limit your time on digital screens. Wear blue light glasses if you use digital devices for long hours. These glasses block blue lights and give you a strain-free vision.

Don’t Stress Out And Take a Break

Most of your diseases are a result of you taking stress. Overworking can harm your body, your vision and your mentality too. Take a breather. You can go on a digital detox vacation. Blue light glasses can give you a comfortable and strain-free view, but they can only work to a limit. Give your body the rest it needs and go on a break.

Break free from your tunnel vision mentality and look at the sides too.

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