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Visual Field Test – VFA

More about Glaucoma

A visual field test is a method of measuring an individual's entire scope of vision, that is, their central and peripheral (side) vision.  But first things first.  What is the person's visual field, and what does the perimetry test cost?  

You can also watch the video on how perimetry is done.

What is my visual field?

Let's say you are looking at the television.  While looking at this television, can you see the lampshade next to the tv?  Or something else lying next to the tv.  Can you see the wall around the television?  Mind you, you see these things despite looking directly at the television.  That is your visual field.

What happens to my Visual Field in Glaucoma?

So as mentioned in other parts of this website, glaucoma is when the eye pressure increases.   This increased pressure over a prolonged period damages the optic nerve.  The optic nerve has fibres from all over the retina, which means fibres responsible for your entire vision are present in the optic nerve.  In glaucoma, certain fibres are damaged earlier than some others.  The fibres responsible for peripheral vision are damaged before the fibres responsible for your central vision.  If the fibres responsible for peripheral vision are damaged, your visual field is affected.  In other words, if you are watching the television, you would be able to see the wall around the tv everywhere except the part above the tv, which means that the upper part of the visual field is damaged. 

Since your visual field is damaged in glaucoma, the Visual field test helps detect the amount of damage and thus helps determine treatment.

When is the Field Test done?

The visual field test is done for two general conditions: glaucoma and specific neurological or brain or optic nerve issues. 

Glaucoma, you have already been explained.  You may understand that the optic nerve enters the brain and transfers information from our eyes to our brain.  If there is any damage to these fibres in the brain, the person will have vision problems.  When a visual field test is done in such a person, your treating doctor will locate the area in the brain where there is a problem by looking at the visual field test result.

The visual field test is done for glaucoma at the first visit when your doctor wants to confirm that you have glaucoma and as a follow-up investigation to know how much the disease has advanced.  It would help your doctor decide if the treatment should be continued or changed.

How is the Field Test Done?

The visual field test is a subjective examination.  This means that we require the patient to understand the testing instructions, fully cooperate, and complete the entire test to provide helpful information.  It is not like taking a picture of the eye but more like performing a test.

Some points to note:

  • The field test is done in a dark room.
  • You will notice in the picture below that you will be placing your chin in the chin holder and then looking at the bowl.  Your examiner will instruct you to look straight ahead at a dot.
  • You will then be handed a button in your hand.
  • You will have to look at the dot in front of all at all times.
  • While this is happening, the machine will show you lights from different parts of the bowl.
  • If you have seen that flash of light, you are expected to press the button.
  • Your response is recorded by the machine for different areas and different intensities of light.
  • The complete analysis will result in the report of the test.
  • Each eye is tested separately, and the eye not being tested is covered with a patch.  
  • It usually takes about 8 minutes per eye for the test.  The test can sometimes take longer if the patient feels tired while doing the test.  The test also takes longer if the patient is not following the instruction properly.
  • After the test, one can resume regular activity.
  • Depending on the field test results, your glaucoma specialist may recommend further follow-ups, evaluation, or treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions ?

How much time does the test take ?
If done correctly and quickly the field test would take about 8-10 minutes per eye.

However, this is a subjective test and patients cooperation and understanding is essential. Thus sometimes the test may take longer if the patients requires breaks while he is performing the test.
What is the cost of this test ?
A visual field test costs Rs 1600 for both eyes or Rs 800 for one eye.

There are various formats of performing the test. Sometimes we may need to perform the test of the same eye in different formats depending on the eye condition and that would be considered as another test. So the premetry test cost can range from Rs 800 for one eye to a maximum of Rs 1600 per eye.
What if I need the test repeatedly with other tests for glaucoma ?
Sometimes glaucoma patients need to repeat this field test frequently along with other tests like OCT and Pachymetry. We have combined packages for all three tests for such patients. Please contact the hospital to know more.
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