Our retina is generally divided in to two main components: our central vision which is brought to us by our macula, and our peripheral vision which is brought to us by our peripheral retina. While our central vision is finely-tuned and capable of giving us our best visual resolution, our side vision is still a very important part of our visual system. Detecting subtle changes in side vision can tell us many things about the overall health of the patient and their eyes. Using visual field testing, our doctors can assess the quality of a patient’s visual field, looking for pattern changes that are associated with specific eye and brain diseases. Long-term analysis of visual fields allows our doctors to monitor glaucoma, hydroxychloroquine use, macular disease, brain lesions, brain disease, and traumatic brain injury.
Disease that are known to affect a patient’s visual field include:
- Brain injury from stroke, disease, or injury
- Detached retina
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye stroke or vessel occlusion
- Head injury
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) maculopathy (central vision)
- Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (central vision)
- Macular degeneration (central vision)
- Optic nerve head swelling (papilledema)
- Retinitis pigmentosa
Visual field testing is considered a subjective test, meaning that the patient’s input is needed to determine what is seen. Our visual field analyzer presents a series of visual cues to which the patient responds. The test will present subtle and more obvious cues to varying degrees in order to map out the sensitivity of the patient’s visual field. This test typically takes about five minutes per eye, and can be paused at any point during the test for patient comfort. As we tell patients before they begin their visual field test, missing a visual cue due to blinking is perfectly fine because the instrument will re-test that same spot to determine if the test point was actually missed due to the presence of disease, or if the patient’s response was just not timely.