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1. A condition in which one's field of vision narrows to a point directly in front of one's eyes, without the ability to see peripherally. I started getting tunnel vision from such a rapid change in altitude.
2. A tendency, habit, or conscious decision to only focus one's energy or attention on a single particular thing or aspect, without regard for anything or anyone else. Tom tends to get tunnel vision when he starts working on a new project, so I wouldn't be surprised if we don't hear from him for a while. The only way I can complete my novels is if I have total tunnel vision while writing, which has had some disastrous effects on my relationships.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. Lit. a visual impairment wherein one can only see what is directly ahead of oneself. I have tunnel vision, so I have to keep looking from side to side.
2. Fig. an inability to recognize other ways of doing things or thinking about things. The boss really has tunnel vision about sales and marketing. He sees no reason to change anything.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
COMMON If someone has tunnel vision, they use all their energy and skill on something that is important to them and ignore other important things. Unfortunately, government departments tend to exhibit extreme tunnel vision. It is often beyond their capacity to appreciate or support something if it benefits more than one department. Note: This expression can also be used to show admiration for someone who has achieved a lot by concentrating on a single thing. They always say that you have to have tunnel vision to be a champion. You can't have any outside distractions at all. Note: You can also use tunnel-vision before a noun. The experts sometimes have a bureaucratic, tunnel-vision view of their mission. Note: Tunnel vision is a medical condition in which someone can only see things that are immediately in front of them, and cannot see things that are to the side.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
(have) ˌtunnel ˈvision(disapproving) (have) an interest in only one small part of something instead of the whole of it: He’s got tunnel vision about music. He thinks only the classics are worth listening to.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
A very narrow view, inability to see beyond a limited viewpoint. The term, dating from the mid-1900s, transfers the physiological inability to see peripheral objects to a mental outlook. For example, “Preble had the ghetto mind and the tunnel vision of a committed social climber” (T. Barling, Goodbye Piccadilly, 1980).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer