What is a visual field test?
In this test, also known as static perimetry, the patient has to look at a point straight ahead, while small light flashes are presented across their field of vision. The patient presses a button every time they see a flash. The machine can then detect any areas of the field of vision where the sensitivity is reduced.

Who needs a visual field test?
The field of vision is a marker of optic nerve function, and is typically requested for:

  • patients with, or at risk of, glaucoma
  • patients with suspected problems affecting the optic nerve
  • patients with neurological problems that can affect the field of vision
  • patients with retinal disorders that can affect the field of vision

In glaucoma, regular visual field testing is an accepted part of monitoring for progression of disease.

This young gentleman was referred to Mr Shah for evaluation. Mr Shah ordered a visual field test (see above) which showed an area missing in the same quadrant in each eye. This is called quadrantanopia and it implies a problem in the brain affecting the visual pathways. Mr Shah immediately ordered a brain MRI scan which revealed a benign growth in the brain.

What is Estermann visual field testing?
Normally, the visual field is tested with each eye individually. However the legal standards for driving only consider a person’s visual field with both eyes open. This special field test, called an Estermann test, is requested on certain patients to verify that they satisfy the legal requirements for driving.