The frequency of occurrence, types, and characteristics of visual field defects in acquired brain injury: a retrospective analysis

Optometry. 2008 May;79(5):259-65. doi: 10.1016/j.optm.2007.10.012.


Background: The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the frequency of occurrence of visual field defects in a sample of visually symptomatic, ambulatory outpatients who have acquired brain injury (ABI), either traumatic brain injury (TBI) or cerebral vascular accident (CVA).

Methods: The medical records of 220 individuals with TBI (n=160) or CVA (n=60) were reviewed retrospectively. This was determined by a computer-based query spanning the years 2000 through 2003. The individuals' records were reviewed to determine the frequency of targeted visual field defects that were classified as scattered, restricted, homonymous, nonhomonymous, and visual neglect. The altitudinal and lateral characteristics of these defects were also determined.

Results: In the total ABI sample of 220, some 102 (46.36%) individuals had 1 of the targeted defects diagnosed. These defects were present in 62 (38.75%) of the TBI subgroup and in 40 (66.67%) of the CVA subgroup. The most frequent defects in the TBI group were scattered (58.06%) followed by homonymous (22.58%). In the CVA group, the most numerous were homonymous (47.5%), with scattered and nonhomonymous accounting for 20% each.

Conclusion: The uniqueness of the current study is that it reports the frequency of occurrence of specified visual field defects in the total ABI sample and in the TBI and CVA subgroups. This enabled comparisons with other studies that generally have reported on just 1 of these groupings. The current results are in accord with most of the other studies that are reviewed. The findings of this study should alert the reader to the high frequency of occurrence of visual field defects in the ABI population, and make the reader aware of the adverse effects they can have on quality of life and rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*