Why Are You Suddenly Experiencing Tunnel Vision?

Posted on: 19 February 2015


Do you feel as though you are looking down a tunnel? Everything straight ahead of you is perfectly clear, but the space on the sides looks blurry, out of focus, or completely dark. There are many possible causes of tunnel vision. Although this symptom can be alarming and is sometimes a sign of a serious medical condition, it can also be caused by simple problems such as migraines and concussions. Take a deep breath, and read on to gain a little more insight as to what might be causing your strange visual changes.


If you have suffered migraines in the past, your sudden tunnel vision may be an indication that one is coming on. Many patients experience visual changes up to 30 minutes before the actual migraine pain starts. You may also see stars or spots, and you might feel nauseous. Migraines that cause visual changes are often called "migraines with aura." Take an over-the-counter migraine treatment, and seclude yourself in a dark space until the migraine passes. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, so he or she can look you over and make sure nothing further is wrong.


Did you recently hit your head? Your tunnel vision may be caused by a concussion. It's a common misconception that you cannot suffer a concussion if you don't lose consciousness, but actually, even a rather gentle head bump can cause a concussion if you hit you head at the right angle. If you have reason to believe your tunnel vision is due to a concussion, have a friend take you to the emergency room immediately. Most patients recover from a concussion quickly and easily, but there is a small chance you could have intracranial bleeding, which can be life-threatening if you don't receive the proper treatment.

Detached Retina

If you have no history of migraines and have not bumped your head, then you should call your ophthalmologist immediately. Sudden tunnel vision with no other symptoms may be a sign of a detached retina, which is considered a medical emergency. You will need immediate treatment to restore your vision. Keep in mind that a detached retina is just the worst case scenario. You might reach your eye doctor and discover that your tunnel vision is being caused by something less worrisome, such as a compressed nerve or a reaction to medication. However, you're always better safe than sorry when it comes to your eyes.

Suddenly developing tunnel vision can be very frightening. If this has happened to you, tell someone close to you, so that he or she can help you find the assistance you need. Even if your vision becomes normal again and you believe it was just a migraine, tell your physician or ophthalmologist about the experience so that he or she can make sure nothing more sinister is going on.