What Causes Blurred Peripheral Vision?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 February 2019
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Blurred peripheral vision can be caused by strokes, eye injuries, toxins, and malignant conditions. It is important to receive treatment for vision changes as they are sometimes symptoms of serious medical conditions. An ophthalmologist can examine a patient with a peripheral vision problem, including blurring, floaters, or total peripheral vision loss, to find out more about what is happening to the patient's eyes. Treatments are available, depending on the cause.

Problems with the eye are a common cause of blurred peripheral vision. This can include diseases of the retina, damage to the optic nerve, and glaucoma. These problems may be apparent on a physical examination, especially as the patient completes a series of eye exercises at the direction of the doctor. Patients should make sure to report associated symptoms like pain, as they can be helpful diagnostic clues for the doctor.

The brain can be another culprit. If there is a problem with the processing or transmission of visual information, a person can have blurry peripheral vision. Intoxication caused by drugs or alcohol, along with exposure to toxins like snake venom, can also impair peripheral vision. Tumors, aneurysms, and trauma to the brain may also be involved. With strokes, sometimes changes to the peripheral vision are the first noticeable sign for the patient, especially if the vision problem is isolated to one eye only.


Loss of peripheral vision is known as tunnel vision. It can be a serious visual impairment, as people are less able to navigate the surrounding environment when they cannot see well. Absent or blurry peripheral vision can be particularly dangerous while engaging in activities like driving or operating heavy machinery, where a broad visual field helps people identify threats and avoid injuries and damage. Ignoring a vision problem can make it harder to treat, as the options for management will decrease as it progresses.

If a sudden onset of blurred peripheral vision occurs, patients should seek immediate medical treatment. This can be a sign of injury to the brain, and prompt treatment may stop the injury before it progresses any further. Patients should report any recent history of head injuries, as well as dizziness, confusion, and other symptoms associated with neurological problems. This information can help a doctor narrow down an issue more quickly so treatment can begin as early as possible. With strokes and swelling in the brain, minutes can make a big difference in treatment.


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Post 4

When I was younger I suffered some blurred peripheral vision after a concussion I received during an abnormally rough hockey game. It was very unsettling to not be able to see as I normally could and was really worried I had caused some serious damage to my eyes. After the concussion was treated my eyesight returned to normal and I was able to focus well again.

If you get a good knock to the head, make sure you see a doctor. Even a small concussion can cause series problems and head injuries should always be checked out quickly. I stopped playing hockey with those particular friends as I valued my eyesight a lot more than a few goals.

Post 3

Blurred peripheral vision was how my mom learned that she had glaucoma. She had started to complain about her eyesight degrading and was worried that it was only going to keep getting worse if she left it be.

After a visit to an eye doctor she was given some eye drops and scheduled for a surgery to fix her sight. Glaucoma can actually be treated with laser surgery, and it worked quite well for my mother.

If you suffer from blurred peripheral vision make sure to get it checked out right away. Glaucoma can cause blindness so you don't want to leave it any eye problems unchecked.

Post 2

@indemnifyme - I hope your friend seeks help soon. Especially in the case of glaucoma, catching it earlier is better.

My boyfriends family has a really serious history of glaucoma; pretty much his moms entire side of the family is affected. However a lot of them have been able to retain more of their sight because the disease was caught and treated early. So tell your friend not to wait!

Post 1

Scary! One of my friends has been complaining of blurry peripheral vision for about a week now. I keep telling her to go see her eye doctor but she's been putting it off. I think I am going to forward her a link to this article.

I think she's secretly afraid something is wrong. That's why she needs a doctor though!

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