Visual Fields

visual fieldsThe term visual field is sometimes used as a synonym to field of view, though they do not designate the same thing. The visual field is the "spatial array of visual sensations available to observation in introspectionist psychological experiments", while 'field of view' "refers to the physical objects and light sources in the external world that impinge the retina". In other words, field of view is everything that (at a given time) causes light to fall onto the retina. This input is processed by the visual system, which computes the visual field as the output.

The term is often used in optometry and ophthalmology, where a visual field test is used to determine whether the visual field is affected by diseases that cause local scotoma or a more extensive loss of vision or a reduction in sensitivity.

Measuring the visual field
The visual field is measured by perimetry. This may be kinetic, where points of light are moved inwards until the observer sees them, or static, where points of light are flashed onto a white screen and the observer is asked to press a button if he or she sees it. The most common perimeter used is the automated Humphrey Field Analyzer.