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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.