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Volume Perimetry: Measurement in Depth of Visual Field Loss

Satgunam, PremNandhini*; Apfelbaum, Henry L.; Peli, Eli

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182678df8
Original Articles

Purpose. Volume scotomas are three-dimensional regions of space that are not visible to the observer. Volume perimetry maps volume scotomas. Volume scotomas predicted from combining monocular visual fields assume known fixation locus (mainly foveal). However, fixation loci are not always known, especially with central field loss (CFL). Here we demonstrate methods for measuring and calculating volume scotomas and discuss their practical implications.

Methods. Three patients (bitemporal hemianopia, binasal scotoma, and CFL) were evaluated. Slices through the volume scotomas were measured at three distances: at the plane of fixation, at a plane anterior to fixation (representing anterior volume perimetry), and at a plane posterior to fixation (representing posterior volume perimetry). For anterior volume perimetry, patients fixated on a screen 100 cm away through a beamsplitter that reflected the perimetric stimulus (at 50 cm). For posterior volume perimetry, patients fixated on a near target (50 cm), while perimetric stimuli were presented on a screen 150 cm beyond fixation. At the plane of fixation, monocular visual fields under binocular viewing conditions were measured using a computerized dichoptic perimeter.

Results. Posterior and anterior volume scotomas were documented in patients with bitemporal hemianopia and binasal scotomas, respectively. The CFL patient demonstrated both anterior and posterior volume scotomas. Scotoma magnitude was considered to determine its effect on visual function.

Conclusions. Direct measurement of volume scotomas can be performed. Anterior and posterior volume visual fields can vary substantially from conventional binocular perimetry measured at the fixation plane, revealing blind areas not otherwise identified. These volume scotomas are likely to impair functional vision such as driving (for bitemporal hemianopes) and near work with small hand tools (for binasal scotomas). Patients with CFL will have impaired functional vision for both distance and near tasks. Consideration of volume scotomas can help provide more effective vision rehabilitation and counseling.

*BS(Opt), MS, PhD



Schepens Eye Research Institute and Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

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Received: January 10, 2012; accepted May 14, 2012.

Eli Peli Schepens Eye Research Institute 20 Staniford St Boston, MA 02114-2500 e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry