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What Causes Central Vision Loss?

By Angela Crout-Mitchell
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

There are several known causes attributed to central vision loss including cataracts, macular degeneration and holes, as well as complications from other conditions such as multiple sclerosis. In some cases, centrally located vision loss can be the result of brain tumors or aneurysm. This type of vision loss is characterized by changes or loss of sight in the center scope of normal vision, and may affect one or both eyes depending on the discovered cause. The treatments used to correct the problem vary greatly, and are determined according to the most effective treatment available for the vision loss cause. In many cases, this form of eye disorder can be corrected and reversed.

One of the most common causes of central vision loss is preexisting conditions of the eyes, such as cataracts. Cataracts are a cloudy film that develops over the lens of the eyes, prohibiting light from reaching the retina and severely hampering normal vision. This eye disease most often occurs in older patients, and the symptoms typically become progressively worse. It can lead to blurred central vision and even total blindness if left untreated. Doctors can usually remove the cataracts, effectively treating the central vision loss and reestablishing normal vision.

Another frequent cause of central vision loss is macular degeneration, an eye disease that often strikes older patients. Macular holes are similar to degeneration, and both the macula of the eye and retina are adversely affected. Since this disorder affects the central vision capabilities, many patients with macular degeneration have difficulties performing normal, daily tasks, such as driving and reading. For some patients, the vision changes are so gradual that the patient may not notice the change, and in others the vision loss is swift. Laser treatments can help slow the progression of the disease for some patients.

Some patients with multiple sclerosis may develop central vision loss as well. This occurs when the patient contracts optic neuritis, a condition that simply refers to swelling of the optic nerve. The functioning optic nerve is vital to getting visual messages to the brain, so this disorder severely limits the person's vision function. Optic neuritis can affect one or both eyes, and may either manifest as a gradual vision loss over a couple of days, or can occur almost immediately. Treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications, are used to try to reduce or eliminate the swelling of the nerve.

Central vision loss has occurred in cases of brain trauma, such as tumors or in the event of an aneurysm. Medical professionals can run a host of tests to determine if the vision loss is a result of this type of brain injury. During the initial onset of the vision loss, doctors are most likely to be more concerned with controlling the aneurysm or tumor than correcting the vision, though the eyesight typically returns to normal without intervention.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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