All About Visual Field Testing

Visual field testing is a diagnostic tool used by eye care professionals to assess the full horizontal and vertical range of what you can see peripherally (around your central vision). It helps detect abnormalities or loss of vision in your visual field, which could indicate various eye conditions or neurological issues.


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Why Visual Field Testing Matters

Detecting Early Signs of Eye Diseases

Visual field tests can detect early signs of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. These conditions often cause peripheral vision loss, which can be subtle and unnoticed without testing.

Monitoring Disease Progression

For those already diagnosed with conditions affecting the visual field, regular testing helps monitor disease progression. It provides quantitative data that allows eye care professionals to adjust treatment plans accordingly. Changes in the visual field over time can indicate whether current treatments are effective or if adjustments are necessary.

Types of Visual Field Tests

Screening Tests

Screening tests are simplified versions of visual field testing used primarily for initial assessments or large-scale screenings. They are designed to quickly identify potential vision problems or abnormalities that may require further investigation.

Confrontation Visual Field Testing

This basic test involves covering one eye and having the patient focus on a central object while the examiner tests peripheral vision by moving objects into view from various angles.

Automated Perimetry

Automated perimetry uses specialized machines to map the sensitivity of your peripheral vision. It involves staring at a fixed point within a bowl-like apparatus and pressing a button when you see flashing lights at different intensities and locations.


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What to Expect During a Visual Field Test

Test Procedure

During the test, you’ll be asked to focus on a central point while responding to stimuli in your peripheral vision. It’s essential to stay focused and blink regularly to ensure accurate results.

Duration and Frequency

Visual field tests typically last between 5 to 20 minutes per eye, depending on the complexity and the type of equipment used. The frequency of testing depends on your eye health status and any underlying conditions.

Interpreting Results

Understanding the Output

Results are usually displayed as a map showing areas of sensitivity and any blind spots. Your eye care professional will interpret these results in the context of your medical history and symptoms.

Discussing Results

After the test, your eye care professional will review the results and discuss the findings with you. If abnormalities are detected, further tests or treatments may be recommended.


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Visual field testing plays a vital role in diagnosing and monitoring various eye conditions. By detecting changes early, it helps preserve your vision and allows for timely intervention when necessary. Remember, regular eye exams and consultations with your eye care professional are crucial for maintaining good eye health and overall well-being.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.