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"What is a visual field test?"


My husband is just over 60 and is already developing glaucoma for which his doctor is evaluating him with a visual field test. How does the visual field test work? What is the best result that you can get when you take it? How is this useful for someone with a glaucoma?


Visual field testing can be done in a formal setting by an ophthalmologist. The test is performed in a variety of ways, but the idea behind the test is to isolate and test your ability to perceive light in both eyes coming from a variety of areas or fields. Visual fields are sometimes broken up into four quadrants, each eye has a nasal field (closer to the nose) and a temporal field (the outer half of the visual field).

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This is then broken up into and upper and lower quadrant. The best result one can obtain during visual field testing is full visual fields in all quadrants. There are a variety lesions that can cause loss of vision in one or more visual fields. Lesions affecting vision can be anywhere from within the eye itself, to the nerve leading out of the eye, to the tracts leading back to the final processing area known as the occipital lobe (located in the back of the brain). Glaucoma affects the optic nerve as it travels away from the eye. Visual field testing can evaluate the optic nerve and test for damage. For more information, please talk to your ophthalmologist, who will be able to better discuss the results of this test.

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