What is a peripheral vision test?

Peripheral vision is a key aspect of our overall visual capacity, allowing us to see and interpret the world beyond the direct line of sight. The peripheral vision test, a fundamental component of comprehensive eye exams, plays a vital role in assessing this broad field of vision. Let’s dive into what this test entails and its importance.


1. Understanding Peripheral Vision

Peripheral vision refers to the part of our visual field that occurs outside the direct line of gaze. It’s what lets us detect movement and objects on our sides, contributing to our spatial awareness and overall visual experience.

2. The Peripheral Vision Test

This test measures how much you can see around the edges of your visual field while focusing your eyes straight ahead. It’s often used to identify blind spots (scotomas), reduced vision (tunnel vision), or other issues with side vision.

3. How is the Test Conducted?

  • Automated Perimetry: You look at a screen with blinking lights on various locations and press a button when you see a light in your peripheral vision. The test maps your field of vision, showing areas where vision may be limited.
  • Confrontation Visual Field Exam: The eye doctor will ask you to cover one eye and tell when you can see their hand or fingers moving into your peripheral view.

4. Why is Testing Important?

  • Eye Diseases: Early detection of diseases like glaucoma, which initially affects the peripheral vision.
  • Brain and Nerve Problems: Issues with peripheral vision can indicate problems with the nerves or brain, including strokes or brain tumors.
  • Safety and Mobility: Good vision is essential for daily activities like driving, playing sports, and navigating around obstacles.

5. When Should You Get Tested?

It’s part of a routine comprehensive eye exam, but if you notice changes in your peripheral vision, schedule an appointment immediately. Symptoms may include difficulty seeing in dim light, trouble navigating while walking, or bumping into things more often than usual.


The peripheral vision test is more than just a routine check. It’s a crucial component in safeguarding not just your vision but your overall quality of life. Whether you’re playing your favorite sport or crossing the street, peripheral vision keeps you in tune with your surroundings, making timely testing all the more important.


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