What is visual field testing?

Visual Field Testing: A Deep Dive into Peripheral Vision Analysis

Our vision encompasses more than what’s directly in front of us. The entire scope of what our eyes can see, including the periphery, is termed our ‘visual field’. A crucial tool in assessing the health and function of this area is the visual field test. Let’s unpack this diagnostic tool and its significance.

field testing

1. What is Visual Field Testing?

Visual field testing, often referred to as perimetry, is a method to measure an individual’s entire scope of vision, both central and peripheral. This test assesses potential blind spots (scotomas) which could indicate various eye diseases.

2. Why is it Important?

The primary objectives of visual field testing include:

  • Disease Detection: Conditions like glaucoma can damage peripheral vision before central vision. Early detection can be crucial for timely treatment.
  • Monitoring Progress: For individuals with known eye conditions, visual field testing tracks the progression or improvement of the disease.
  • Driving & Occupational Requirements: Certain jobs or driver’s licenses have visual field requirements. This test ensures individuals meet necessary standards.

3. How Does the Test Work?

There are several methods for visual field testing, but the most common is the automated perimetry. During the test:

  • The individual sits in front of a concave dome and stares at a target in the middle.
  • Lights of varying brightness appear in different parts of the dome. The person presses a button whenever they see a light.
  • A computer then maps and calculates the areas where the individual did or didn’t perceive the light stimuli.

4. What Can Affect the Results?

Several factors can influence visual field test outcomes, including:

  • Eyelid droopiness or drooping lashes
  • Incorrect lens prescription during the test
  • Lack of concentration or fatigue

5. After the Test

Results are usually available immediately. They’re plotted on a chart, which the optometrist or ophthalmologist analyzes to detect any abnormalities.


Visual field testing is an invaluable tool in the ophthalmological world. It goes beyond basic vision assessment, offering insights into the broader scope of an individual’s visual capabilities and potential vulnerabilities. Understanding its importance can ensure that we don’t overlook the broader picture of our eye health.


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