A visual field test evaluates vision loss due to glaucoma and other conditions affecting the optic nerves and brain, by measuring your central and side vision. Although it is a subjective test that many patients do not particularly enjoy, it is the standard test for assessing vision loss. The information received from this test is vital for diagnosis and affects how your eye care practitioner treats and manages the glaucoma. It is also used to determine the severity of the glaucoma and is the most sensitive way to check if the glaucoma is getting worse, which is why visual field tests are repeated periodically. Cutting-edge technologies like scans of the optic nerve have been incorporated in the glaucoma assessment, and although these are a useful addition, they have not replaced the visual field test. New techniques for easier and quicker visual field tests are being researched, however none have yet proven to be as effective. A field test typically takes between 5-10 minutes per eye, and it is helpful if you are calm and alert when doing the test to achieve a reliable result. You can blink normally throughout the test and are able to pause the test by holding down the button if you need a break. Also, not to worry if you feel you have missed something, as the machine will automatically go back to retest that point. Studies have shown that visual field tests have a learning component, so they do get easier with practice.
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