Why Do I Need The Visual Field Test?

A Look At The Visual Fields Test

In the 50 years our practice has been open, the question our technicians and staff get most often is, “Why do I need this test?”.  Today we would like to take a minute and explain to you the importance of our most common screening test, the visual field (or as it is more commonly known as “the video game test”).  This screening is part of the standard of care set by the doctors in our practice. Patients that come to our practice for their annual exam get the visual field screening as part of the exam. This test is very important in the diagnosis, early intervention, and treatment of many common ocular diseases such as Glaucoma and Cataracts. While the visual field can be used early on to detect changes due to Glaucoma and monitor the progression of Cataracts, it can also be used to diagnose neurological conditions such as brain tumors, strokes, and aneurysms.

Glaucoma is known as “the silent killer of eyesight” because in most cases there is no pain or symptoms associated with the condition until the patient notices a loss of vision. If it is left untreated, Glaucoma begins to effect a patients peripheral visual field. If it remains untreated, it will continually decrease the patients usable central field of vision. The visual field screening is used as one of the initial tests to assist clinicians in early diagnosis of Glaucoma. For those patients who have been diagnosed and treated for Glaucoma, we use a more in depth version of the visual field test to track the peripheral visual field more closely. This in depth version is used to monitor and track potential changes to the patients usable visual field before and during the treatment process. Our doctors do this to make sure there are no major changes that would need to be addressed within the prescribed treatment.

Visual field screenings can also be used to monitor the progress of Cataract growth. They are an excellent early detection tool, as well as a key component in monitoring these previously diagnosed conditions. For this reason our doctors have found it imperative to make visual field screenings part of our standard of care.