What is Central Vision?

Jessica Reed
Jessica Reed
Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the eyes.
Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the eyes.

Central vision describes a person's field of vision when he is looking straight ahead. The central vision is the most commonly used part of human vision. It allows people to read, see objects in front of them, and perform other daily tasks and routines. The central vision picks out details of objects, providing the brain with feedback and creating a crisp, clear picture in front of the viewer's eyes. It is also responsible for interpreting colors and shapes of the objects being viewed.

Having regular eye exams can help a person protect their vision as they age.
Having regular eye exams can help a person protect their vision as they age.

For a person's central vision to work, the human eye must have a properly functioning part called the macula. The macula is located inside the retina of each eye and resembles a yellow oval. The macula includes tightly packed cones, the cells responsible for proper viewing of colors and details. The cones are sensitive to the light taken in by a person's eyes, and the cones inside the macula work to produce the fine details needed for clear vision and performing tasks such as reading.

The central vision is the most commonly used part of human vision.
The central vision is the most commonly used part of human vision.

Peripheral vision is the second type of vision, and includes the range of vision referred to when a person is, as it is commonly described, seeing something out of the corner of his eye. Both types of vision are important for clear sight, but central vision is more important than peripheral vision for day-to-day functioning. If the macula is damaged, the resulting problems and loss of vision are often extreme, whereas damage that affects only peripheral vision is often less severe.

Central vision enables people to read.
Central vision enables people to read.

If the macula becomes damaged, the person may only be able to see from his peripheral vision. This creates a permanent blind spot in the middle of the field. When the macula is damaged it may begin to break down over time, leading to blindness. It can happen to only one eye or occur in both eyes. Those who smoke and who spend a lot of time outdoors without proper eye protection are at a higher risk of developing macular degeneration, along with those who are elderly.

The macula is located inside the retina of each eye.
The macula is located inside the retina of each eye.

A person can protect his eyes by wearing proper sunglasses outdoors, wearing prescription or reading glasses if necessary, and making doctor's appointments for regular eye exams. If he ever notices odd phenomenon, such as flashing lights or blurry vision, it is important to talk to an eye doctor immediately. Keeping in good physical shape is also important, not only for healthy eyes but a healthy body overall.

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Discussion Comments

PinkLady4

Most eye doctors and people afflicted with macular degeneration think that there is not hope for any vision returning.

I have heard of one clinic that claims that they have a method to return at least some people suffering from central vision difficulty.

Windchime

@Penzance356 - I had no idea that young people could have those kind of vision problems. I thought it was something senior folk, like my grandmother get.

She's been living with central vision loss for a good while, but it came on slowly and she had time to adjust. We also got a lot of good advice from a support group on how to make her daily life easier.

We made her house safer to prevent falls and burns by making the lighting better, changing her rugs for fitted carpets and building sturdy fencing around the deck. My mother helped fix the kitchen up with a color coding system for stove controls and food items.

I would never have thought of these things without help, so my advice for anyone in a similar position is to make the most of all the support that's out there.

Penzance356

When my cousin was in grade school he complained about a loss of central vision, which was initially put down to eye strain. It turned out he had something called Stargardt’s Disease, which affects about 1 in 20,000 kids.

Thankfully he won't go completely blind but this is quite a hard thing for him to live with. He has to wear special glasses, is restricted in sports and physical activities and for a while had phantom visions.

Bertie68

An uncle of mine has experienced the gradual loss of his central vision. He refers to it as macular degeneration. He gave up his driver's license several years ago. Now, is all he has is some peripheral vision. He stays in most of the time unless my aunt is right there with him.

When he was young, his distance vision was very bad. I think that he was nearly blind in one eye.

I would recommend that everyone have an eye exam once a year.

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    • Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the eyes.
      By: Thorsten
      Wearing sunglasses that protect against UV rays can help protect the eyes.
    • Having regular eye exams can help a person protect their vision as they age.
      By: Monkey Business
      Having regular eye exams can help a person protect their vision as they age.
    • The central vision is the most commonly used part of human vision.
      By: ChmpagnDave
      The central vision is the most commonly used part of human vision.
    • Central vision enables people to read.
      By: Mat Hayward
      Central vision enables people to read.
    • The macula is located inside the retina of each eye.
      By: stockshoppe
      The macula is located inside the retina of each eye.
    • Lacking proper eye protection can increase the chances of developing macular degeneration.
      By: joshya
      Lacking proper eye protection can increase the chances of developing macular degeneration.
    • An individual who experiences blurred vision should consult her physician.
      By: bellemedia
      An individual who experiences blurred vision should consult her physician.
    • Wearing prescription or reading glasses when necessary is considered important for maintaining eye health.
      By: giuliahepburn
      Wearing prescription or reading glasses when necessary is considered important for maintaining eye health.
    • Medical conditions such as migraines can impair a person's central vision.
      By: giideon
      Medical conditions such as migraines can impair a person's central vision.
    • Central vision is crucial to safely operating a vehicle.
      By: Rob
      Central vision is crucial to safely operating a vehicle.