Visual field testing is an important part of most standard comprehensive eye exams. Also sometimes known as perimetry testing, Visual field testing is a method to measure the entire scope of vision of an individual, including their peripheral/side vision.
The importance of visual field testing
Visual field testing is one of the most effective diagnostic treatments in the detection of glaucoma. This is because when patients are affected by glaucoma, it is usually the peripheral vision that is affected by their condition first. However, it can also be used to detect central or peripheral retinal diseases, eyelid conditions such as drooping, optic nerve damage and conditions that affect the visual pathways from the optic nerve to the area of the brain where this information is processed into vision.
Visual field testing is also an important part of monitoring for people who are considered to be at risk for vision loss from disease and other problems, including those who have been diagnosed with the following:
Pituitary gland disorders
Central nervous system problems (such as a tumor that may be pressing on the brain)
High blood pressure
What to expect from visual field testing
There are a variety of methods that can be used to perform visual field testing, including:
Static automated perimetry. This is where a machine is used to quantify how well the patient is able to detect flashing lights of varying size and brightness in different areas of their visual field, while they concentrate on a central point. The patient responds by pushing a button when they see the light.
Kinetic perimetry. This involves points of light that are fixed in size and intensity and are presented along the patient’s peripheral vision, before being gradually moved inwards to determine their field of vision.
Visual field testing is non-invasive, painless and doesn’t require patients to have their eyes dilated. The results, which are usually presented in a series of charts, are digital and sent directly to your eye doctor for interpretation. Depending on the outcome of your results, you may be recommended for further diagnostic testing which could include blood tests. If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you will probably be recommended to have several visual field tests each year, which will help your eye doctor to monitor the progression of your condition and recommend treatments to slow it.
If you would like more information about visual field testing, or if you have concerns about your peripheral vision, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our experienced and knowledgeable eyecare team today.