What is Monocular Vision

by Sam Malone

Monocular vision can be described as “sight in one eye only”. This medical term comes from the words Mono, which means “one” in Greek as well as Oculus, which means “eye” in Latin.

Normally, people with binocular vision, or sight in both eyes, have a larger field of view, though their depth perception is limited. In people with monocular vision, there is a reduction of about 20% in the field of view.  This is because their good eye can see quite far into the visual field of the other eye.

The term Monocular Vision could have two different meanings. The first form of monocular vision is more like a visual perception, where the eyes act independently, instead of working as a pair. Several prey animals like lizards, sheep and horses have this form of monocular vision.

The second form of monocular vision is more like a visual disability in humans and animals, as it refers to vision loss or impairment in one eye. This generally occurs when one eye is damaged, but the other functions normally.

Depending upon the causes and severity of the impairment, the doctor may recommend removing the damaged eye and replacing it with prosthesis. However, in case the loss of vision in one eye is the result of trauma to the brain, the doctor may ask you to leave the affected eye in place.

Coping with Monocular Vision

Many individuals with monocular vision adapt quite quickly to the changes in their sight, due to which, they experience few or no difficulties in their everyday life. Most of them simply adjust by turning their heads and bodies around, in order to see things in their periphery vision.

However, if you have a child who has recently developed this problem, you may need to inform his teachers and caregivers about it. Your child may be unaware of objects and happenings on his blind side, which could be disconcerting and perhaps even hazardous in an unfamiliar or cluttered environment. Given below are a few tips to help your child cope with the recent changes in his vision:

  • Try to place important and often used objects in front of him, or on his good side
  • Sit on your child’s good side when talking to him or working with him
  • Always approach your child from his good site, especially when you are approaching him from behind
  • Maintain constant eye contact with your child’s good eye while speaking to him
  • Never expect your child to share a textbook or a worksheet with someone else
  • Encourage your child to participate in sports, but do not force him
Adults with monocular vision can work normal jobs and can also hold a driver’s license, as long as they inform their motor vehicle departments and their insurance companies about their condition.


  1. Coday MP, Warner MA, Jahrling KV, Rubin PA. Acquired monocular vision: functional consequences from the patient’s perspective. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002;18(1):56–63

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