Visual Field Defect


I’m just back from a sight test and my vision is spot on but they gave me a visual field test and my left eye was repeately defective. Is this an MS thing or something else? Thought on of you experts on here would know. I haven’t had an optic neuritus (?) episodes that I know of.

The optician has given me a letter for the gp to refer me to the eye clinic.

Hi, I have a visual field defect in my left eye - and for me it is definitely related to MS (optic neuritis that has never fully resolved). However, there are a variety of different defects and different causes… The test they give you at the optician is very general - just highlighting that there is some sort of problem, the examination at the eye clinic is much more involved. I haven’t had a visual field test at the hospital for a few years but I seem to remember it felt like it was never going to end (esp when compared to the short one you get at the optician).

Thank you Tay, I knew somebody would know what I was on about. Maybe just another thing, it doesn’t bother me, just the possibility of where it’s headed if you know what I mean.

And the definitive answer to haziebabie is …Perhaps!

In crude terms, there are three parts to the human visual system:
The three layers of cells at the back of the eyeball - all connected into a very thin network.
The optic nerves - part of which cross over behind the bridge of the nose.
The visual cortex - two actually that are fed by the optic nerves.

A problem with any part of this can affect the “visual field”. You probably had your head in a half-dome trying to count the number of tiny lights that came on. The optician - properly called an optometrist - can see where the problem is in general terms, and this is usually enough to get you referred up to consultant level.

Most Optic Neuritis attacks come with some sort of pain, or with some really wild visual effects. It sounds like you have a condition that does not cause an everyday problem but which warrants an investigation by a specialist to determine just how extensive the problem is.

Not something to lose a lot of sleep over, most likely.


Thank you Geoff, I do feel better informed now, I hate not knowing what is going on. I hopefully won’t need to wait to long for a referral appointment.

I have had headaches but they could be connected to fatigue, also some difficulty seeing the computer, and coping with bright sun, I think its more aversion to light generally, which is why I went to get my eyes tested. Who knows, am totally guessing at everything. I will stop now and wait. :slight_smile:

I have a visual field defect caused by glaucoma, nothing to do with ms. To do with pressure in the eye. Can result in blindness, but easily treated with eye drops. You just have to keep your eye on it !

I have a visual field defect (scotoma) due to glaucoma. I didnt even notice it until they told me. Since then it has worsened and I am able to notice it more easily with one eye shut. I also noticed when playing around with a crude simulation of the VEP screen test I made, that it made it possible for me to clearly notice the defect. You might be able to detect yours if you cant at present by activating the youtube clip below and staring with only your affected eye open at the alternating chequer pattern. You may need to move closer or further away fromthe screen to bring it into view. I notice an area where the pattern is distorted or where there is an absence of pattern, replaced by a grey fuzz.

It all goes grey and smudgy in the bottom corner actually, thats really interesting. I covered my right over over and it worked like you said. Never noticed anything before. Am I stuck with it or do these things get better? My Dad is blind in his left eye but never properly diagnosed with anything, they treated him for Glaucoma apparently as the pressure in his eye was high but nothing helped him, he is very hazy on the details.

haziebabie - I really hope the referral comes through quickly and they manage to put your mind at rest.

mrbobowen - your comments about the VEP test are really interesting, as I remember when I had them done that the black square in the middle kept disappearing or going very pale grey. This was only with one eye. I have since been told by two separate opticians that my eye pressure is at the high end of normal.

Am off to look at the link now!

Glaucoma is one of those things that can affect the optic nerve without any help from MS.
Excess pressure inside the eye makes the nerve “cup” or expand just like a rivet head, just where it goes through the back of the eyeball. It is not reversable, but the use of the right eyedrops can hold it right where it is.

It also qualifies you for free eyetests.


The scary bit for me is when I place my finger in front of my eye in line with the greyed area and it just disappears! Purpledot your experience may not be glaucoma related as I believe it would be very untypical for vision loss from glaucoma to start right in the centre of vision; it normally starts from the periphary. However, there could be something else happening. In fact I found that on the second run of my VEP for one eye, the whole chequer pattern suddenly faded or greyed out so that I could only see the yellow dot. I was unable to get an explanation of this and the rrsult was judged normal!

Am I not a bit young for Glaucoma though I am only 36? LOL. I know there are no set rules. :slight_smile:

At least it has been picked up. Not sure why I did the field vision test as the guy said it was fine but there must have been something as I have never done it before and after getting my vision corrected by laser last year, I have done a lot of tests.

Thank you everyone.