TEST VISUAL FIELDS
By: Carmen Willings
Updated March 11, 2018
As part of the Functional Vision Evaluation, it is necessary to assess the student's visual fields. The technique used will vary depending on the students cognitive abilities. It is important to assess the student's visual fields even if the eye report indicates that there are no limitations in visual fields.
The central visual field is the "what" system, while the peripheral visual field is the "where" system. The visual field is the entire area of vision that can be used without shifting the eyes or moving the head, encompassing 180 degree arcs. Assess the student's visual fields including the student's preferences or limitations. Observe the students response to materials presented in the central visual field and to the peripheral visual fields. Note where the student responds to materials. Estimate the number of degrees from the nose.
Note other signs of possible field loss including: over-scanning; eccentric viewing; holding object to the side, up, or down to inspect it; stumbling over low-lying objects; functional peripheral vision is often a source of distractibility. A student's scanning of an array of objects or looking for a missing object can demonstrate his functional visual field at near point. For example, a compensatory head turn suggests a peripheral field loss to the side of the head turn, since the student has learned to compensate by moving the usable visual field toward the side where information is missing.
The performance of activities, such as scanning a map or doing a word-search puzzle, can also suggest where scotomas (areas of absent vision) may be located, because if students are asked to keep their heads perfectly still while doing them, they may miss information in some areas of the tasks. Students who walk with their heads turned slightly to one side may be compensating for a difference in visual fields. Eye preference, evidenced in typical tasks, can also be evaluated.
Observe special visual behaviors and repetitive behaviors including eccentric viewing, stereotypical behaviors, and fluctuating visual abilities. Observe whether the student uses corrective lenses and tolerates them. Also indicate if the student has received Orientation and Mobility services. Note how the student currently travels indoors, outdoors, in familiar and in unfamiliar environments.
The absence of a full (180 degrees) peripheral field may cause difficulty in sports and social difficulty due to not seeing those in their visual field or by using an odd posture in order to see. They also may not see downward flight of stairs or a curb. It also may limit the amount of letters/words can see at a time.
Depending on the results of the Visual Fields Testing, the following strategies, recommendations, and accommodations may be necessary to meet the students unique visual needs:
FREE VI Program Templates
Become a member for FREE to access the Printable VI Program Templates to support your district's vision program. Includes VI Program resources, FVE/LMA templates and NEW Sample FVE Reports ebook. Simply click on Log In|Register in the navigation bar at the top of the page and follow the directions to register and create your password.
Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
I have created a page covering items discussed during my presentation on conducting the FVELMA. Included is the PowerPoint, resources I use in conducting the FVELMA, and templates. Become a member for free to access this page as well as other presentation pages and printables.