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How to Test Peripheral Vision at Home

Updated July 19, 2017

Peripheral vision is what you see outside of your direct gaze. Peripheral vision in humans is better for motion than it is for the recognition of colours or shapes. A variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including glaucoma, strokes and migraines, can cause peripheral vision to weaken significantly. It is fairly easy to test your peripheral vision at home.

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  1. Place a push pin midway along one of the 2-foot sides of a piece of cardboard that measures 1 foot by 2 feet.

  2. Tie a piece of string around the pin and tie the other end of the string around a pencil 1 foot from the pin. Use this to draw a half-circle.

  3. Wrap the string around the stick pin so as to draw a half circle about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. This will serve as your nose rest.

  4. Remove the pin and use your scissors to cut out the nose rest and to trim the cardboard along the edge of the larger half-circle you drew.

  5. Place the pin at the very edge of the large half-circle directly across from the nose rest. This will serve as your focus point.

  6. Glue the cup bottom to the centre of the bottom of the cardboard device. This will act as your handle.

  7. Use your coloured markers to draw shapes such as circles, square, stars and rectangles in different colours on different index cards.

  8. Hold the testing device parallel to the floor with your nose in the nose rest.

  9. Have your partner hold one card at a time at the outer edge of the cardboard just above the testing device, beginning farthest from the focus point and moving slowly toward the focus point.

  10. Take note of when the object first enters your vision and when you can distinguish the colour and shape. You will notice that the object is significantly closer when you can distinguish the colour and shape.

  11. Repeat the testing steps for the other eye.

  12. Tip

    If your focus point is 90 degrees, you should begin to detect motion at about 30 degrees. Distinguishing shape and colour varies for each person but usually does not occur until between 45 and 60 degrees. If you have a difficult time estimating the degrees, use a protractor and straight edge to place bench marks on the edge of the testing device.


    If your fail to detect motion close to the 30 degree range, you should consult a doctor.

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Things You'll Need

  • Piece of cardboard 1 foot by 2 feet
  • Push pin
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Small plastic cup
  • Glue
  • Various coloured markers
  • Index cards
  • Another person


About the Author

Rebecca Walker has been in administrative positions and written various forms of content and business communications for a number of companies for twenty years. She also has much experience as a bookkeeper, tax preparer, and has ghost written hundreds of business articles for a prominent online content production company. She holds an Associate Degree in business management from Baker College.

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