The evidence base to select a method for assessing glaucomatous visual field progression

Paul J. G. Ernest*, Jan S. A. G. Schouten, Henny J. M. Beckers, Fred Hendrikse, Martin H. Prins, Carroll A. B. Webers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A large number of methods have been developed for assessing glaucomatous visual field progression, but their properties have not yet been systematically evaluated. In this systematic literature review, we summarize the evidence base for selecting a method by providing answers to ten relevant questions on the variety, validity and reproducibility of methods. In total, we found 301 different methods in 412 articles. The majority of studies (54%) used the Humphrey Field Analyzer. No data have been published about the reproducibility of methods. Although there is no gold standard to assess glaucomatous visual field progression, we found evidence on validity for 48 different methods. Some methods were less capable of distinguishing between progressive and nonprogressive patients. Choosing among twelve methods is supported by some evidence of their validity. These methods still differ in sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of test results within studies comparing several methods. In conclusion, the current evidence base is not perfect. A selection should be made from a limited number of methods, according to the clinical purpose of progression assessment. Methods that quantify the rate of visual field progression seem to be the most appropriate for guiding subsequent medical actions in individual patients. Future studies should investigate whether using one method to monitor patients is superior to another method in preventing loss of quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • glaucoma
  • perimetry
  • progression
  • reproducibility
  • validity


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