Ever wonder why eye doctors do some of the things they do? Some of the tests and treatments you receive from your eye doctor can certainly seem strange. One of the most common questions patients have is about the blinking or flashing lights during a visual field test. You may be wondering if it is necessary or if there are negative effects of this test. Fortunately, the answer is that visual field tests are very routine and can help your eye doctor better understand and treat your eyes.
What is a Visual Field Test?
A visual field test is a way for your eye doctor to assess how much vision you have in either eye and determine how much vision you may have lost over time. Because your visual field is how wide of an area you can see when focusing on one central point, your doctor can learn a lot from testing it. Your doctor can determine whether or not you have blind spots, which may be the result of disorders or diseases such as glaucoma. Visual field testing is especially important for patients who are at risk from vision loss due to:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Central nervous system problems (such as a tumor that may be pressing on visual parts of the brain)
- High blood pressure
Are There Different Kinds of Visual Field Tests?
There are several types of visual field tests that doctors use, depending on the patient’s specific needs. Of the visual field tests that use flashing or blinking lights, there are the automated perimetry test and electroretinography. The automated perimetry test is used to help your doctor determine where you can and cannot see, while electroretinography is used to check for visual field loss from certain retina conditions. Both tests are very safe and routine, but do involve blinking lights in order to help your doctor learn more about your eye.
What Does The Blinking Light Do?
Depending on the test, blinking lights may serve different purposes. In an automated perimetry test, a blinking light is used to measure your visual field. While you will see some of the lights that are blinking, those outside of your visual field will not be visible. This lets your doctor know the size and shape of any blind spots you might have. In electroretinography, the ophthalmologist measures your electrical signals of light-sensitive cells in your retina by using a blinking light to trigger responses. Again, both of these tests are very safe and will ultimately be used to make sure your eye doctor can provide you with the best possible treatment.
Visual Field Tests at LA Eye & Laser
After serving Louisiana for more than 40 years, we realize that tests can seem strange or even scary. If you have questions about visual field tests or any other eye procedures, we’ll be happy to explain exactly what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Just call, go online or stop by any of our 13 locations to speak with one of our highly-qualified eye care professionals. At Louisiana Eye & Laser, we pride ourselves on having the latest technology, an expert staff and the best customer service around!