Advances in technology for testing field of vision in glaucoma

field of vision in glaucoma

Professor Anthony Khawaja attended the American Academy of Ophthalmology in San Francisco, where he attended the launch of a new glaucoma visual field device from Topcon healthcare, called TEMPO™. After a hands-on trial of the device, Professor Khawaja is delighted to share his positive experience, comparing it with the current standard in the UK, the Humphrey Field Analyser.

Testing field of vision in glaucoma

Tests for glaucoma fall in three broad categories – assessment of intraocular pressure, the optic nerve head assessment and field of vision. There have been many advances in the assessment of the optic nerve head (e.g. OCT scanning) and intraocular pressure (e.g. the Ocular Response Analyzer) over the last decade. Now, with advances in affordable and portable virtual reality (VR) technology, there have been recent advances in visual field testing too. TEMPO™, the new device that Professor Khawaja trialled, demonstrated a few key benefits over the standard Humphrey Perimeter:

Comfortable – using a snug binocular-style headset, which effectively blocked out even the bright lights of the convention centre
Quick – Both eyes checked simultaneously, reducing set-up time – taking 3 minutes in total for both eyes (less than half current testing time). Also, not having to cover one eye at a time made the test considerably more comfortable
Easy Assessment – Easy to analyse the results which are in a format that is very similar to the familiar Humphrey perimeter results

Benefits of VR devices for detection and monitoring of glaucoma

There are clear benefits with using VR technology for visual fields in terms of time saving and ease of testing – so the potential for more patient testing and more effective prevention of blindness due to glaucoma. The benefits may be in the community for glaucoma detection, and also in the clinic to help with monitoring.

There is also the potential for other similar VR devices to be used for testing in the home, making it easier to test the elderly or those with mobility issues. Professor Khawaja believes that it will not be long before these advancements in vision field testing will be available in the UK, improving the lives of patients with glaucoma. A major challenge will be how healthcare providers will make the switch from such an established device, and research needs to be in place to ensure any new device can perform equally well at glaucoma detection and monitoring.