A Single Low-Dose of Methylphenidate Improves Abnormal Visual Field Testing

Curr Eye Res. 2021 Aug;46(8):1232-1239. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2020.1858430. Epub 2020 Dec 21.


Purpose: To evaluate the effect of methylphenidate on visual field testing in healthy adults with abnormal visual field results.

Methods: This prospective, randomized, controlled interventional clinical trial comprised all patients who had abnormal visual field test results and normal eye examination and ophthalmic history. Eligible patients were randomly assigned to either the study group or the control group. All patients repeated their visual field testing. Study group patients received a single dose of 10 mg methylphenidate prior to that. The main outcome measures were the percent difference in mean deviation and pattern standard deviation between the second and first visual fields.

Results: The methylphenidate group had greater improvement in all parameters. Mean deviation improved by median 68% (IQR 19%-78%) in the methylphenidate group vs. 27% [-5% to 55%] in the controls. However, this was not statistically significant (p = .83). Pattern standard deviation improved by median 49% (22%-59%) vs. 7% [-9% to 45%], respectively (p = .012). The visual fields were also reviewed by 3 masked experienced ophthalmologists. They indicated that the second visual field improved in 76.2% of the methylphenidate group vs. 48.5% of the controls (p = .04). A normal repeat visual field occurred in 57.7% vs. 21.2%, respectively. A subgroup analysis of patients with prior experience in visual field testing yielded an even more striking improvement in the methylphenidate group vs. controls.

Conclusions: A single low dose of methylphenidate can improve visual field testing in subjects without ocular pathology, and even more in those with prior experience in perimetry.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02162381.

Keywords: Methylphenidate; perimetry; visual field exam; visual field tests; visual fields.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vision Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Visual Fields / drug effects*
  • Visual Fields / physiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Methylphenidate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02162381