Visual Field Exam
What is a visual field test?
A visual field test is a method of measuring a patient's entire panoramic area of vision. Although it checks the central field of vision, the usual concern when performing this type of test is the patient's peripheral vision. Visual field maps out each eye separately, therefore testing is done one eye at a time. The visual field test is an interactive examination and requires full cooperation of the patient to obtain an accurate assessment.
What is a visual field test used for?
Visual field testing is most frequently used to detect any affect on the peripheral vision due to glaucoma. In addition, visual field tests can be helpful to detect visual disturbances or limitations from drooping eyelids, retinal or optic nerve disease and even neurological abnormalities that can affect the visual process.
What to expect if you are scheduled for a Visual Field.
If you have been diagnosed with a condition such as glaucoma you may be required to have a Visual Field or "side vision test".
In order for the doctor to measure and monitor progress of your condition, he has requested you undergo this test.
The test takes about 45 to 60 minutes and is totally painless. You will simply be asked to look into large, bowl-shaped machine and attempt to identify small, computer-generated lights that appear inside the bowl.
YOUR EYES MAY BE DILATED. AS A RESULT, PLEASE BRING SUNGLASSES OR HAVE SOMEONE DRIVE YOUT TO THE OFFICE.
You may continue taking your glaucoma drops on the day of your test. HOWEVER, if taking Pilocarpine ( green capped drops or ointment), then do not take them 24 hours before your test. You can restart Pilocarpine immediately after the test is over.
The doctor may also ask that you be given another test called the "GDX/RNFL". This is a camera-like machine that takes a computer-generated image of your optic nerve. Again, the test is painless and only takes 15 minutes or so at the office. Another possibility is that doctor may order a "fundus photo" which is simply a picture of the back of your eye. The results of these tests are used in conjunction with the visual field exam to help the doctor determine how your condition is doing and what treatment program he should prescribe for you.