Eye conditions & symptoms 2 min read

What is Peripheral Vision?

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Much of your vision is focused on being able to see different distances, but it’s also important to consider your peripheral vision too. Peripheral vision is a crucial component of your overall visual field, so it’s helpful to be aware of the quality of your vision both in front of you and around you!

What does peripheral vision mean?

Peripheral vision is also sometimes known as indirect vision, as it allows you to see things around you without moving your head or even your eyes. This type of vision exists because of the different nerve cells and rods located in your eye. Central vision is the responsibility of the macula, while the cells and rods for peripheral vision are located outside of the macula. 

Why is peripheral vision important?

It is the peripheral vision that gives you a sense of perception in a number of situations, including driving and traffic. Peripheral vision helps you to see the whole picture, which could be crucial if you are driving down a busy road.


Your side vision is also important in being able to see objects in the dark due to the number of rods in that area of the eye.

Wearing the right lenses can help you to feel more confident behind the wheel, such as Varilux Road Pilot. These lenses are designed to help you achieve a wider field of vision so that you can spot vital information in your peripheral vision for a safer experience. 

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man driving at night

Problems with peripheral vision


If you notice your peripheral vision is worsening, it could be due to a number of reasons and is often known as tunnel vision. In many cases, worsening peripheral vision isn’t always noticeable, so it can be helpful to be aware of the potential signs.

Some of the leading causes of peripheral vision loss include glaucoma, retinal detachment or even a stroke. Loss of peripheral vision can be temporary or permanent, so it’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice a change in your vision.

You might notice signs such as impaired night vision, a change in sensitivity to light and swelling, soreness or redness.

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image representing peripheral vision


How to test peripheral vision

Your local optician can carry out a simple visual field test that requires you to look at a screen and focus on a subject in the middle. You will then be asked to press a button whenever you notice an additional object in your peripheral view. 

If you have a family history of glaucoma, you may also be asked to undertake a visual field test just to check for early tests of the condition.


Can you treat peripheral vision loss?

The reason for your peripheral vision loss will determine what treatment is available. In some cases, the change may be permanent, but there are many different ways to help you adjust. By keeping up with regular eye examinations and any treatment that you have been recommended, you can be proactive in looking after your vision. 

You may also be able to access low vision lenses or devices from your optician to help you achieve as much clear vision as possible.

optician during an eye teat

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