Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Visual field

Definition

The visual field refers to the total area in which objects can be seen in the side (peripheral) vision as you focus your eyes on a central point.

This article describes the test that measures your visual field.

Alternative Names

Perimetry; Tangent screen exam; Automated perimetry exam; Goldmann visual field exam; Humphrey visual field exam

How the Test is Performed

Confrontation visual field exam. This is a quick and basic check of the visual field. The health care provider sits directly in front of you. You will cover one eye, and stare straight ahead with the other. You will be asked to tell when you can see the examiner's hand.

Tangent screen or Goldmann field exam. You will sit about 3 feet (90 centimeters) from a screen with a target in the center. You will be asked to stare at the center target and let the examiner know when you can see an object that moves into your side vision. This exam creates a map of your entire peripheral vision.

Automated perimetry. You sit in front of a concave dome and stare at a target in the middle. You press a button when you see small flashes of light in your peripheral vision. Your responses help determine if you have a defect in your visual field. Automated perimetry is often used to track conditions that may worsen over time.

Your provider will discuss with you the type of visual field testing to be done.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is necessary.

How the Test will Feel

There is no discomfort with this test.

Why the Test is Performed

This eye exam will show whether you have a loss of vision anywhere in your visual field. The pattern of vision loss will help your provider diagnose the cause.

Normal Results

The peripheral vision is normal.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be due to diseases or central nervous system (CNS) disorders, such as tumors that damage or press on (compress) the parts of the brain that deal with vision.

Other diseases that may affect the visual field of the eye include:

Risks

The test has no risks.

References

Budenz DL. Visual field testing in glaucoma. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 10.5.

Elliott DB, Flanagan JG. Assessment of visual function. In: Elliott DB, ed. Clinical Procedures in Primary Eye Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 10.5.

Feder RS, Olsen TW, Prum BE Jr, et al.; American Academy of Ophthalmology. Comprehensive adult medical eye evaluation preferred practice pattern guidelines. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(1):209-236. PMID: 26581558 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26581558.

Review Date:2/7/2017
Reviewed By:Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No