They say that the sense of sight is the most important and most used of all five human senses. Every day, those of us who have the privilege of vision are able to interact with the world in a way ideal for our species. But because sight has become such a normal, everyday thing for most of us, we tend to forget just how amazing it can be.

While many of us tend to focus our sights on what’s immediately in front of us, there are other areas in our visual field that don’t only enhance the visual process but also grant us greater alertness. If you’ve ever heard the term “peripheral vision,” you already know the unfocused areas of the visual field.

What is Peripheral Vision?

To better understand what peripheral vision is, try focusing your vision on a steady object in front of you. While concentrating on this item, try to assess what objects are located at the farthest left or farthest right of your visual field without moving your eyes or your head. Peripheral vision can best be described as the portion of your visual field that is not within your immediate focus. So when a car drives by your vehicle, or when a person walks past you along the sidewalk, the moment when they enter your visual field from the extreme left or right is when you perceive them with your peripheral vision.

The Importance of Peripheral Vision

Imagine driving your car, buying your groceries, or navigating a party while looking through binoculars with eyepieces the circumference of a penny. It will be very challenging. Although a lot of people don’t notice their peripheral vision too often, it actually plays a vital role in the way we interact with the world we live in. Peripheral vision enhances the visual process and grants us the ability to be more alert and more aware of our surroundings. You might not know it, but your brain constantly processes information taken in from your peripheral vision which in turn makes you able to navigate with ease.

Peripheral Vision Problems

There are numerous problems and conditions that could affect peripheral vision, and this will make it significantly more challenging to perform activities independently and safely. The reasons for peripheral vision problems can be numerous and can be caused by numerous different factors. Lesions in the brain, lesions along the nerves that supply the sensory component of the eyes, and structural problems with the eyeballs and eye sockets could all cause peripheral vision problems.

Make sure you schedule an appointment with your optometrist as soon as you experience any trouble with your peripheral vision.