Visual Field Testing

Peripheral vision loss and other visual field defects can arise from several types of eye and brain disorders. Let's discuss a few common reasons to return to your eye care provider for a visual field test.

Visual field testing is key to the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve (nerve connecting the eye to the brain) causing peripheral vision loss. For a patient who is newly diagnosed as a "Glaucoma Suspect," a baseline visual field test is taken and likely repeated in six months to one year. Once a diagnosis of glaucoma is confirmed, the patient will continue to complete a visual field test every year. Your eye care provider uses these annual test results to help determine if there is progression or control of the disease.

Brain injuries and Strokes (interruption of blood supply to the brain) are also known to cause defects in one's visual field. A visual field test can be extremely helpful in localizing a brain injury. The test can also aid in the diagnosis of a stroke, as well as monitor the patient's post-stroke vision rehabilitation.

A few common systemic medications have the potential to cause visual field abnormalities. Such medications include: Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquin (anti-inflammatory medications), and some antiepileptic drugs such as Vigabarin. If a patient using any of these types of medications takes a visual field test that reveals abnormalities, your eye care provider will communicate concerns involving possibility of drug toxicity to your primary care provider.

**A little background on the visual field testing procedure**

Your eye care provider or technician will place a patch over your left eye and help you sit comfortable with your chin and forehead correctly positioned in front of the visual field machine. Using your right eye, you will focus on a target light directly in front of you while continuing to blink normally. You will hold a small clicker button in your hand. Each time you notice a small flash of light in your side vision, you will click the button. Several flashes (followed by your button clicks) will appear for 6-8 minutes. The test facilitator will let you know when your right eye visual field test is over. You will have a moment to move the patch to cover the right eye and complete the same procedure for the left eye. Results of the visual field tests are revealed immediately.

Eye Specialists in Bellevue and Papillion, Nebraska have Humphry Visual Field Testing machines as well as other advanced equipment to monitor our patients' ocular health. Check out our webpage to learn a little more about our practice and how we can help you see the world with(through?) healthy eyes.