Understanding Tunnel Vision

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If you’re living with tunnel vision or living with someone who has tunnel vision, it’s important for you to learn more and understand the ailment in order to know its effects, what caused it, the possible treatments, as well as adjustments you or the person with tunnel vision has to make in order to function and live normally. In order to fully understand tunnel vision, you’ll need to know what peripheral vision is. Peripheral vision is our line of sight that allows us to see objects at our sides without turning our heads or moving our eyes, while central vision is the one we use to see and focus on what’s in front of us (or in our direct line of sight).

What Is Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision affects the peripheral vision; to be exact, tunnel vision is the lack of peripheral vision while still being able to retain central vision. A person with tunnel vision would be able to see what’s right in front of them, but not at the sides of objects and scenery at the “corner of one’s eye”. In a way, it’s as if you’re passing through a dark tunnel where you’re only able to see what’s in front but not the sides. Hence, the name.

The Causes

Tunnel vision is oftentimes a side effect of a medical condition, the two most common of which are glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Glaucoma is a disease characterized by buildup of fluid and subsequent increase in pressure in the eye, which causes nerve damage that can result in peripheral vision loss — and, eventually, your entire eyesight. Retinitis Pigmentosa or RP is a genetic disorder which damages one’s retina, with its symptoms starting with night blindness and progressing towards loss in peripheral vision. Tunnel vision can also be temporary, caused by extreme panic, anger, or stress and other situations wherein the body releases high levels of adrenaline. Alcohol and drugs are also known to cause a temporary loss in peripheral vision.

The Treatment

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The treatment for tunnel vision depends heavily on what caused it. Tunnel vision due to certain diseases and ailments such as glaucoma and RP are irreversible, but there are many ways to delay and slow down the damage as well. Vitamin A is also known to aid in slowing down vision loss in RP. It’s best to consult your doctor on what to do in order to prevent further damage, or if treatment is possible.

Living With Tunnel Vision

If you or your loved one suffers from tunnel vision, you’d have to be extra careful due to your limited range of sight. In a way, tunnel vision limits one’s movements by forcing one to be extra cautious when traversing. People with tunnel vision may no longer be able to obtain or retain a driver’s license, so you’ll need to have someone drive or even guide you. Luckily, through advances in technology, there is equipment such as electronic glasses for the visually impaired that are designed to assist those with tunnel vision.


It’s important to be well-aware of the causes, definition, treatment, and impact of tunnel vision in order to properly adjust to the limited vision. However, if you don’t have tunnel vision, it’s best to get an eye test and see if you have any ailments that might cause tunnel vision down the line — the earlier it’s treated, the more chance you’ll have to avoid living with tunnel vision or even vision loss in the long run.

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