Health Library

Visual field
     
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Visual field

Perimetry; Tangent screen exam; Automated perimetry exam; Goldmann visual field exam; Humphrey visual field exam

 

The visual field refers to the total area in which objects can be seen in the side (peripheral) vision as you focus your eyes on a central point.

This article describes the test that measures your visual field.

How the Test is Performed

 

Confrontation visual field exam. This is a quick and basic check of the visual field. The health care provider sits directly in front of you. You will cover one eye, and stare straight ahead with the other. You will be asked to tell when you can see the examiner's hand.

Tangent screen or Goldmann field exam. You will sit about 3 feet (90 centimeters) from a screen with a target in the center. You will be asked to stare at the center target and let the examiner know when you can see an object that moves into your side vision. This exam creates a map of your entire peripheral vision.

Automated perimetry. You sit in front of a concave dome and stare at a target in the middle. You press a button when you see small flashes of light in your peripheral vision. Your responses help determine if you have a defect in your visual field. Automated perimetry is often used to track conditions that may worsen over time.

Your provider will discuss with you the type of visual field testing to be done.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

No special preparation is necessary.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

There is no discomfort with this test.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This eye exam will show whether you have a loss of vision anywhere in your visual field. The pattern of vision loss will help your provider diagnose the cause.

 

Normal Results

 

The peripheral vision is normal.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Abnormal results may be due to diseases or central nervous system (CNS) disorders, such as tumors that damage or press on (compress) the parts of the brain that deal with vision.

Other diseases that may affect the visual field of the eye include:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma (increased eye pressure)
  • High blood pressure
  • Macular degeneration (eye disorder that slowly destroys sharp, central vision)
  • Multiple sclerosis (disorder that affects the CNS)
  • Optic glioma (tumor of the optic nerve)
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Retinal detachment (separation of the retina in the back of the eye from its supporting layers)
  • Stroke
  • Temporal arteritis (inflammation and damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the head)

 

Risks

 

The test has no risks.

 

 

References

Budenz DL. Visual field testing in glaucoma. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 10.5.

Elliott DB, Flanagan JG. Assessment of visual function. In: Elliott DB, ed. Clinical Procedures in Primary Eye Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 10.5.

Feder RS, Olsen TW, Prum BE Jr, et al.; American Academy of Ophthalmology. Comprehensive adult medical eye evaluation preferred practice pattern guidelines. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(1):209-236. PMID: 26581558 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26581558.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Eye

    Eye

    illustration

  • Visual field test

    Visual field test

    illustration

    • Eye

      Eye

      illustration

    • Visual field test

      Visual field test

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Visual field

           
           

          Review Date: 2/7/2017

          Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com