Seniors see as if they were looking through a telescope. Symptoms of tunnel vision

Seniors see as if they were looking through a telescope.  Symptoms of tunnel vision

Imagine seeing the world as if you were constantly looking through a viewfinder or a magnifying glass. This way of seeing applies to many seniors. This is why they stumble and fall even in a place they know well.

  • What is tunnel vision?
  • What other symptoms accompany tunnel vision?
  • What diseases can tunnel vision indicate?
  • How to help a senior who has tunnel vision?

– Anyone who puts their hand into a telescope, looks through it and walks around their apartment can easily see how many difficulties they will encounter. To better understand the patient’s world, the caregiver should put themselves in their shoes, at least for a moment, says Joanna Mainka, a psychogerontologist.

What is tunnel vision?

Tunnel vision is also called peripheral or telescopic vision. This is a vision defect that causes the patient to feel that he or she is looking at the world as if he were looking through a keyhole, a tunnel or a tube. Assuming that a healthy person can see up to 180° without moving their head, tunnel vision significantly narrows the field of vision. The patient cannot see what is above, below or on the sides. The edges seem scattered and blurred to him. There is no broader perspective. This translates into difficulties with spatial orientation, movement and performing basic activities. This vision defect mainly affects seniors, although it may also occur in other patients.

What other symptoms accompany tunnel vision?

Tunnel vision usually develops gradually over many years. Even though it makes vision more and more difficult, over time the patient gets used to this visual defect, although it still causes a lot of difficulties. Peripheral vision is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as:

  • eye pain,

  • squinting,

  • dark circles before the eyes,

  • bloodshot eyes,

  • headaches,

  • dizziness,

  • problems with concentration,

  • nausea,

  • balance disorders,

  • neck numbness,

  • back problems.

If you notice symptoms of tunnel vision, you should consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

What diseases can tunnel vision indicate?

Although tunnel vision occurs mainly in seniors, it can also affect younger patients. It may accompany conditions such as:

  • glaucoma,

  • migraine,

  • retinal detachment,

  • optic neuritis,

  • a brain tumor.

Tunnel vision is also a term known in psychology. This name describes a situation when the patient is in a very difficult situation, sees no chance for change and struggles with suicidal thoughts.

How to help a senior who has tunnel vision?

To make it easier for a senior to function in his or her own home, you can implement several proven patents that will give him or her a chance for greater independence and improve the comfort of life. Here they are:

  • removing carpets or gluing them to the floor so that the senior does not trip over fringes or protruding corners,

  • protection of cables and wires, they can be hidden under skirting boards or behind furniture,

  • removing any “obstacles” that the senior may trip over,

  • lighting the path to the toilet (e.g. LEDs can be used for this purpose), this is extremely important, especially at night,

  • painting the toilet door in an intense color or covering it with visible tape (people with dementia have trouble seeing the white color).

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