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Visual Field Defects

What are Visual Field Defects?

The visual field refers to a person’s scope of vision while the eyes are focused on a central point. The nerves that carry visual signals follow a complex pathway from the back of the eye to the brain’s visual processing center, called the occipital lobe.

When any part of this pathway is damaged because of a disease or an injury, part of the visual field may disappear. This is called a visual field defect.

Visual Field Defects Symptoms

Vision loss in one eye may indicate a problem in the eye, whereas the same visual field defect in both eyes may signal a problem in the brain.

Signs that you may have a visual field defect include:

  • Bumping into things
  • Knocking over objects when reaching
  • Having difficulty reading
  • Getting into a car accident

If you think you are having symptoms of vision problems, contact a medical professional.

Visual Field Defects Treatments

Treatment for a visual field defect depends on the cause of the defect.

If you are experiencing vision loss due to a neurological problem, we can help. At Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, we have specialists in brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, pituitary gland disorders, aneurysms, and stroke.

Additional Information

Who gets visual field defects?

There are many different diseases or traumatic injuries that can cause visual field defects. Some examples include:

  • Tumors (such as pituitary adenomas and optic gliomas)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Aneurysms
  • Stroke
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

How are visual field defects diagnosed?

An eye exam will show whether you have vision loss and the pattern of vision loss can help your doctor diagnose the cause of the defect. Imaging tests may be used to determine if the defect is being caused by a neurological problem rather than an eye problem.

Request an Appointment with a Neuro-ophthalmologist