Peripheral Vision Loss

A loss of peripheral vision can be sudden and very scary, or gradual without noticing when it begins.

Last Updated: April 5, 2024

What is peripheral vision loss?

Peripheral vision loss is when you can't see things well on the sides, but you see what is right in front of you.

Think of your vision as a big circle. The center part is called your central vision. It's what you use to read, watch TV, or recognize someone's face. The edges of the circle are your peripheral vision.

peripheral vision loss

Severe peripheral vision loss

What are symptoms of peripheral vision loss?

There are many symptoms of peripheral vision loss, including:

  • tripping,
  • difficulty seeing at night,
  • difficulty driving,
  • seeing a curtain or spiderweb off to the side in your line of sight,
  • and shimmers of light followed by tunnel vision lasting ten to twenty minutes.

What causes peripheral vision loss?

The causes of peripheral vision loss range from mild to serious, and include:

  • migraines,
  • vitreous floaters (spots in your vision),
  • retinal detachment,
  • diabetic retinopathy,
  • tumours,
  • glaucoma,
  • stroke or traumatic brain injury,
  • retinitis pigmentosa (eye diseases that affect the light-sensitive part of the eye, the retina), or
  • brain aneurysms.

Changes to your peripheral vision may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.

How can I prevent peripheral vision loss?

  1. Get regular eye examinations with your optometrist. Early detection and treatment of eye conditions are the best way to prevent vision loss.
  2. If you have diabetes or other health issues, work with your doctor to manage them.

If you suspect that you have peripheral vision loss or notice changes in your vision, especially if they are sudden, visit your optometrist. Your optometrist can determine the cause of peripheral vision loss and come up with a treatment plan. Treatment may include special glasses, visual aids, medication, or surgery to help improve your peripheral vision.

Video: Why am I losing my peripheral vision? | Dr. Deborah Jennings