The detection of automated perimetric stimuli in ocular disease
Automated perimetry has made viable a rapid threshold examination of the visual field and has reinforced the role of perimetry in the diagnostic procedure. The aim of this study was twofold: to isolate the influence of certain extraneous factors on the sensitivity gradient, since these might limit the early detection and accurate monitoring of visual field loss and to investigate the efficacy of certain novel combinations of stimulus parameters in the detection of early visual field loss. The work was carried out with particular reference to glaucoma and to ocular hypertension. The effects of media opacities on the visual field were assessed by forward intraocular light scatter (n= 15) and were found to mask diffuse glaucomatous visual field loss and underestimate focal loss. Correction of the visual field indices for the effects of forward intraocular light scatter (n= 26) showed the focal losses to be, in reality, unaffected. Measurements of back scatter underestimated forward intraocular light scatter (n= 60) and the resultant depression of the visual field. Perimetric sensitivity improved with patient learning (n= 25) and exhibited eccentricity- and depth-dependency effects whereby improvements in sensitivity were greatest for peripheral areas of the field and for those areas which initially demonstrated the lowest sensitivity. The effects of practice were retained over several months (n= 16). Perimetric sensitivity decreased during prolonged examination due to fatigue effects (n&61 19); these demonstrated a similar eccentricity-dependency, being greatest for eccentricities beyond 30o. Mean sensitivities over the range of adaptation levels employed obeyed the Weber-Fechner law (n= 10) and, as would be expected, were independent of pupil size. No relationship was found between short-term fluctuation and adaptation level. Detection of diffuse glaucomatous visual field loss was facilitated using a size III stimulus of duration 200msec at an adaptation level of 31.5asb, compared with a size III stimulus of duration 100msec at an adaptation level of 4asb (n= 20). In a pilot study (n= 10), temporal summation was found to be higher in glaucomatous patients compared with age-matched controls, although the difference was not statistically significant.