Ask the Optician

Worried about a peripheral field test


My wife failed her peripheral vision test in her left eye last week and it has me worrying - Looking online has caused the usual scare reading about blindness, cancer etc - I just wanted to know how common this is and what the causes might be? She needs to drive for her job and losing her license is also a concern.

They are referring her to our local hospital for tests but I just wanted to speak to someone qualified to hopefully get some advice.


Answer Video and written answer:

I can understand that you are worried but this is actually relatively common and there are of course varying degrees of 'fail'.

I'm pleased that you are being referred to get this checked out and whilst it can be concerning, normally, referrals to the eye hospital are erring on the side of caution.  As you will have discovered, there are plenty of nasty diseases that can cause a problem with a visual field (peripheral vision) test but equally something as trivial as a droopy eyelid or a spectacle rim getting in the way can give a false result too.

One of the main reasons we use a visual field test in practice is to pick up glaucoma so I'm including a video clip of it here so that you have as much information as possible and can prepare some questions when you see the eye team at the hospital.  In the meantime, if you have any other questions, I'm sure the optometrist that saw your wife would be happy to provide further information for you.

For more information about glaucoma, see our video below:

We recommend you seek professional advice if you are concerned about your eye health:

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