In line with Glaucoma Awareness Week, we thought we would start with one of the effects this condition can cause – tunnel vision. Tunnel Vision can also be caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa, one of the sight conditions that Dave has.
The term ‘tunnel vision’ is used to describe a loss of peripheral vision where people’s central vision remains comparatively clear. People describe it as looking down a pair of tubes (like the inside of a kitchen roll), however, often the surrounding vision might be blurred rather than not there at all.
This loss of peripheral vision can be due to the outer part of the retina being damaged or deteriorating (as with RP), raised eye pressure (as is the case with Glaucoma) or a weakness in the optic nerve.
As well as the obvious effect of losing your peripheral vision, this type of sight loss can result in loss of depth perception (difficulties with judging distances, heights of kerbs, steps etc.), colour recognition and night vision. It can also make orientation difficult, and so might affect a person’s ability or willingness to go out, particularly to unfamiliar places.
A good resource that we often mention on our training is the RNIB’s #HowISee campaign of short video clips highlighting the different impacts people’s different vision impairments have on them. RNIB (www.rnib.org.uk) also have a range of booklets about different sight conditions.
The NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) has lots of information about sight conditions.
The International Glaucoma Association is a patient-based registered charity that works to prevent glaucoma blindness through information, advice and support. It operates a Sightline - 01233 648170 and also runs patient support groups in the UK – information about which is available on their website - https://www.glaucoma-association.com/about-the-iga/what-we-do/groups-in-your-area/
RP Fighting Blindness (soon to become Retina UK) is the specialist charity and support organisation for people with RP in the UK and was founded in 1975 by people with RP. As well as being a respected medical research charity, it also offers a range of support services for those affected by RP, including a helpline, social groups across the UK and the RPYP (RP Young People) Group. The helpline number is 0845 123 2354.
And, just to end, people are often unaware that they have these conditions in the early stages. It is always advisable to have regular sight tests, even if you don’t need glasses. In the case of several friends and both my parents, they were unaware of their sight conditions and it was an optician who picked up on them.
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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