What is Peripheral Vision and Why is it Important?

Do you know when you see something out of the corner of your eye? That’s called your peripheral vision. It allows you to see objects all around you without moving your eyes or turning your head. Peripheral vision also called indirect or side vision, helps you sense motion, view objects, and sceneries. It also helps you walk around without running into things. It a crucial part of our vision.

Why is Peripheral Vision Important?

Tunnel view peripheral view

Individuals with side vision loss often experience a “tunnel vision-like” effect as pictured above.

Combined with central vision, which is our ability to see things straight ahead and with sharp detail, peripheral vision allows us to see “the whole picture”. Particularly in crowded areas such as traffic, peripheral vision gives us a sense of visual perception by allowing us to see things on our sides. Accordingly, this type of vision is the result of different nerve cells and rods located outside of the macula. In addition, peripheral vision plays a more important role than our central vision in our ability to view objects in the dark. This is due to a large number of rods in the peripheral retina.

Fun Fact: Humans have a limited peripheral view as compared to animals.

Vision Loss & Testing

Unfortunately, there are several eye injuries and diseases that can cause loss of your peripheral vision. The most common cause being glaucoma, retinal detachment, optic neuritis, and head injuries. Moreover, individuals with side vision loss often have a sense of seeing through a narrow tube. This is a condition commonly referred to as “tunnel vision.”

Eye doctors typically include a peripheral vision test as part of a comprehensive eye exam or screening. This type of testing will have you focus on a target directly in front of you, such as an upraised finger. Then, with one eye covered you’ll be asked to describe things you see on either side. These objects exist in your peripherals. Other types of testing include automated machines with a series of blinking lights in the outer field of vision and special cards with specific patterns that create forced optical illusions.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Of all the senses we perceive, vision is arguably one of the most important. In fact, human beings intake more than 80% of information from our eyes. It’s incredibly crucial to take care of your eyesight and routinely visit your eye care professionals. Contact Looking Glass Optical today to request an appointment. We work with clients all over Maryland and beyond to keep their vision in top shape. If you have any vision loss or eye issues, don’t hesitate to reach out.