History is full of researchers who become the subjects of their own research, Barry Marshall, who drank Helicobactor pylori broth to prove bacterium caused stomach ulcers, or Werner Forssmann, who performed a cardiac catheterization on himself, just to name two famous examples. While my recent visit to the optometrist, and subsequent visual field test, wasn’t anywhere near the same league as these Nobel prize winning scientists, I still couldn’t help but feel that I had become the subject of my own research stimuli.
Visual field tests are conducted by an optometrist to test for changes in peripheral vision, or in my case to set a baseline level by which future testing can be compared. These tests are usually conducted in a small, quiet, darkened room with specialized diagnostic equipment. The test instructions are to focus on the black square in the centre of the screen and press a button when you see, or think you can see, movement in your peripheral vision. The stimulus, a small patch of moving sinusoidal grating, is then displayed at several different locations on the screen and a visual field is obtained based on the location of the stimuli when a response is given.
And… just in case you’re wondering while my peripheral vision is completely normal for a human, its sub-standard compared to a hoverfly.