Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Visual Field Deficit

  • Joan SwearerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1412


Scotoma; Visual field loss

Short Description or Definition

A visual field deficit refers to diminished or absent vision in circumscribed parts of the visual field.


Visual field deficits are caused by lesions at different levels of the visual system. Lesions at the retinal level result in scotoma of the affected eye. Optic nerve lesions peripheral to the partial crossing of fibers at the optic chiasm usually cause visual field deficits for one eye only (i.e., unilateral or monocular, incongruent defect). Lesions of the chiasm, optic tract, lateral geniculate nucleus, optic radiations, and primary visual cortex produce deficits in the contralateral visual hemifield that are roughly congruent for both eyes (i.e., covering the same area when tested monocularly (Fahle 2003)).

There are four general types of visual field defects. Altitudinal defectsoccur with partial damage to an optic nerve and consist of a deficit in part or all of the nasal and temporal fields...
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References and Readings

  1. Fahle, M. (2003). Failures of visual analysis: Scotoma, agnosia, and neglect. In M. Fahle & M. Greenlee (Eds.), The neuropsychology of vision (pp. 179–258). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gilman, S., & Newman, S. W. (2003). Essentials of clinical neuroanatomy and neurophysiology (10th ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.Google Scholar
  3. Pollock, A., Hazelton, C., Henderson, C. A., Angilley, J., Dhillon, B., Langhorne, P., Livingstone, K., Munro, F. A., Orr, H., Rowe, F. J., & Shahani, U. (2011). Interventions for visual field defects in patients with stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011(10), CD008388.  https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008388.pub2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Wurtz, R. H., & Kandel, E. R. (2000). Central visual pathways. In E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, & T. M. Jessell (Eds.), Principles of neural science (4th ed., pp. 523–547). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Zihl, J. (2000). Rehabilitation of visual disorders after brain injury. East Sussex: Psychology Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA