What Is Visual Field Testing?

How much can you see out of the corners of your eyes when you concentrate on the words in this article? Is it possible for you to tell what is going on in your immediate surroundings?

When you focus on a central point, your visual field is the size of the area your eye can view. Your ophthalmologist can use visual field tests to determine how much vision you have in each eye and how much vision loss has happened over time.

what is visual field testing

Blind Spots Can Be Detected via Visual Field Testing

A visual field test can tell you if you have blind patches in your eyesight (called scotoma) and where they are located. The size and shape of a scotoma can indicate how an eye disease or a brain problem is affecting your vision. If you have glaucoma, for example, this test can help you see if you have any side (peripheral) vision loss resulting from the disease.

Visual field loss can affect one eye (monocular) or both eyes (binocular), and it can impact the central, peripheral, or combined visual fields. Because the road is a dynamic environment, driving is difficult and potentially dangerous for persons with visual field loss. Ophthalmologists often use visual field tests to determine how eyelid abnormalities like ptosis and sagging eyelids may impede vision.

what is visual field testing

How Can You Tell Whether You Need to Have Your Vision Field Tested?

For persons who are at risk of vision loss due to disease or other issues, visual field testing is an essential aspect of regular eye care.

An ophthalmologist should monitor the following conditions on a regular basis, which will determine how often visual field testing is required:

  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Thyroid ophthalmopathy
  • Disorders of the pituitary gland
  • Problems with the central nervous system (such as a tumor that may be pressing on visual parts of the brain)
  • Stroke
  • Use of some drugs for an extended period of time (such as Plaquenil, or hydroxychloroquine, which requires yearly visual field checkups)

Blocked blood arteries in the optic nerve and retina are more common in people with diabetes and high blood pressure. Visual field testing may be required to monitor the effects of these conditions on vision.

Your ability to drive may be jeopardized if your visual field is limited. Consult your ophthalmologist if you are concerned about vision loss or your ability to continue driving.


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