What Does a Visual Field Test Do?
With all the conversations we have had with patients recently around glaucoma, one question comes up many times for those not familiar with the tests we do to detect and monitor this condition. That question is related to the types of tests we undertake. A visual field test is carried out by our optometrists if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma or to detect this or a range of other conditions. The test is generally done on a yearly basis, although depending on how advanced your glaucoma is, we may do this test more often.
With the help of a visual field test, we are able to map out the way the world looks to you. You may be wondering how this can be done. To put simply, by measuring your area of vision, we are able to see how wide the area is you can see.
Last week, we talked about World Glaucoma Week and how 50% of Australians with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Glaucoma mostly affects the side vision first, which is known as the peripheral vision. The process is also painless. This has caused it to be referred to as the “Sneak Thief of Sight”.
The good news with the visual field test is that while the patient may not know there is damage, the test is able to detect glaucoma before the eye is severely damaged. While this test is great for glaucoma detection, other diseases can also affect your visual field including macular degeneration, vascular disease, brain tumours, stroke and diabetes. All this is taken into consideration by our optometrists when interpreting results.
During the field test, a centre fixation target is used and blinking test lights are directed into your side vision. While concentrating on the fixation target that is in the centre, you press the button when you see the blinking test light in your side vision. It is important to keep your eye fixated on the centre light during this process.
When we are looking at the test results, any areas that show as grey or black indicate areas of your vision that are missing or blurred. These areas become larger and darker if you don’t keep your glaucoma controlled.
To book in to see one of our optometrists or find out more, contact one of our four Gold Coast practices below.
Burleigh Heads, 21a James St, Burleigh Heads – 07 5535 2344
Treetops Plaza, Shop 19, 7 Classic Way, Burleigh Waters – 07 5593 7844
MyCentre Nerang, Shop 34b, 57 Station St, Nerang – 07 5502 1277
Tweed Health for Everyone Superclinic, 4/33-35 Corporation Circuit, Tweed Heads South – 07 5524 9659