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"What is wrong with my peripheral vision?"


I'm 24 years old and have started to experience fuzziness in my peripheral vision. Should I be concerned? What type of conditions cause something like that?


Your vision is controlled by a complex circuit involving your actual eyes, the cranial nerves that control the muscles that move the eyes, and the parts of your brain that process the images and then allow you to 'see' an image. Problems with peripheral vision can reflect an issue involving any part of these pathways. It is possible that a trauma to a part of your eye is affecting what you see.

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If one of the muscles that moves your eyes to the side is weakened or damaged or if the nerves that control them are not functioning properly, you may no longer see a crisp 'synchronized' image from the visual fields of your two eyes. Finally, visual changes can also reflect something intrinsic to the brain, either with the areas that process the incoming information from the eyes or from a process like a migraine headache (no one is quite sure why migraines cause visual auras). Overall, the best thing for you to do with this new and troubling symptom is to see your primary care physician right away. He or she will want to do a very detailed history about when this issue started as well as any other changes you may have noted with your health. You prior health history, medications, and family history may also be relevant. Finally, it will be very important to examine your eyes, your visual acuity, and a complete neurological exam. Depending upon the results your doctor may want to order some additional laboratory testing or imaging studies. Hopefully this will turn out to be a minor issue that will resolve, but you don't want to take any chances with your vision so it is important to see a physician right away.

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