Individual differences in the shape of the nasal visual field

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Between-subject differences in the shape of the nasal visual field were assessed for 103 volunteers 21–85 years of age and free of visual disorder. Perimetry was conducted with a stimulus for which contrast sensitivity is minimally affected by peripheral defocus and decreased retinal illumination. One eye each was tested for 103 volunteers free of eye disease in a multi-center prospective longitudinal study. A peripheral deviation index was computed as the difference in log contrast sensitivity at outer (25–29° nasal) and inner (8° from fixation) locations. Values for this index ranged from 0.01 (outer sensitivity slightly greater than inner sensitivity) to −0.7 log unit (outer sensitivity much lower than inner sensitivity). Mean sensitivity for the inner locations was independent of the deviation index (R2 < 1%), while mean sensitivity for the outer locations was not (R2 = 38%, p < 0.0005). Age was only modestly related to the index, with a decline by 0.017 log unit per decade (R2 = 10%). Test-retest data for 21 volunteers who completed 7–10 visits yielded standard deviations for the index from 0.04 to 0.17 log unit, with a mean of 0.09 log unit. Between-subject differences in peripheral deviation persisted over two years of longitudinal testing. Peripheral deviation indices were correlated with indices for three other perimetric stimuli used in a subset of 24 volunteers (R2 from 20% to 49%). Between-subject variability in shape of the visual field raises concerns about current clinical visual field indices, and further studies are needed to develop improved indices.

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