Visual Field Testing

Updated: Sep 01, 2016
  • Author: Meghan A Cummins, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Visual field testing is a crucial component of the neurologic, and more specifically the ophthalmologic, examination. A lesion or disruption may occur anywhere in the pathway from the striate cortex of the occipital lobe to the retina, causing a specific visual field defect. Identification of that deficit leads to an appropriate work up and ultimate diagnosis. Visual field testing can be performed by the nonophthalmologist in seconds as part of the bedside examination. Detailed plotting devices used by ophthalmologists also exist to more precisely locate the field deficit (see the image below). [1, 2, 3, 4]

Schematic representation of visual system. Schematic representation of visual system.

The normal visual field reaches 180º in the horizontal plane (160º for monocular vision) and 135º in the vertical plane.



Indications for visual field testing included visual field deficits, vision loss, headache, and neurologic deficits.