The visual field refers to the entire area that a person can see when looking straight ahead. It includes everything that is visible to both eyes, including the central and peripheral vision.

If you’ve ever been to an eye doctor, chances are you’ve had a visual field test. This is a type of eye exam that’s used to check for blind spots or any loss of peripheral vision. Essentially, it helps determine whether a patient has lost any vision in the upper, lower, or side areas of their visual field.

Visual field testing is especially important for individuals who are at a higher risk of eye diseases and other issues, such as those with medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. These conditions can damage the blood vessels in the optic nerve and retina, leading to vision loss over time. By performing visual field testing, your doctor can detect early signs of these conditions and take steps to prevent further damage. So, if you fall into one of these higher-risk categories, make sure to ask our eye doctor in Marion about visual field testing!

Types of visual field testing

There are several types of visual field tests. The type of visual field test you will need depends on your eye health and vision.

Confrontation visual field test 

The confrontation visual field test is a quick and simple test that can be done during a routine eye exam. Our eye doctor will ask you to cover one eye and they will then use their hand or a small object to test your peripheral vision. If you are unable to see their hand or the object at any point during the exam, that is a sign of peripheral vision loss.

Automated static perimetry test

Automated static perimetry is a type of visual field test that uses a computerized machine to measure your visual field. During the test, you’ll look into the machine and focus on a central point while small flashes of light appear at different locations in your visual field. You’ll press a button whenever you see a flash of light.

The machine creates a map of your visual field based on your responses, which can help detect any blind spots or areas of reduced sensitivity. This test is often used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Kinetic visual field test

Kinetic visual field testing involves moving a small object in and out of your visual field while you maintain focus on a central point. As the object moves, you’ll let your doctor know when you can see it, allowing them to identify areas of vision loss.

This test is often used to detect peripheral vision loss, which can be caused by conditions like retinitis pigmentosa or glaucoma. It can also be helpful for identifying blind spots or other irregularities in your visual field.

Frequency doubling perimetry

Frequency doubling perimetry (FDP) is a specialized type of visual field test that uses a specific pattern of rapidly alternating black and white bars to measure your visual sensitivity. During the test, you’ll focus on a central point while the bars are presented at various locations in your visual field. You’ll be asked to indicate when you see the bars.


Electroretinography (ERG) is another test that can help your optometrist assess loss of vision. To perform the test, your doctor will first use eye drops to dilate your pupils and anesthetic drops to minimize any discomfort. They’ll then place a small electrode on the cornea of your eye and ask you to look at flashing lights in a machine called the perimeter.

The electrode will record your eye’s response to the flashing lights, allowing your doctor to evaluate the function of your retina. ERG testing can help diagnose and monitor a variety of conditions that affect the retina, such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Amsler grid 

The Amsler grid test checks for diseases that affect your central vision, including macular degeneration. The test uses a grid of squares to detect any distortions or blind spots in your central vision. Your doctor will ask you to look at the grid and report any irregularities.

If you’re concerned about vision loss, call our office today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam in Marion and ask our doctor about visual field testing.

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