AIMS/BACKGROUND: Recent work using computerised perimetry has documented predictable visual field defects in patients with choroidal melanoma. Despite the higher frequency of occurrence of choroidal metastases, relatively little is known about their exact effects on visual performance, specifically with respect to visual field. This study is a pilot retrospective analysis of the results of automated perimetry testing in patients with choroidal metastatic disease. METHODS: The Humphrey field analyser was used to perform visual field tests on 15 eyes in 11 patients diagnosed with choroidal metastases. All 11 primary tumours were carcinomas originating in the breast (seven), lung (one), kidney (one), stomach (one), and prostate (one). All patients had either central 30 and/or peripheral 30-60 threshold strategies. RESULTS: Each of the 15 eyes tested had a demonstrable visual field defect. Eight eyes (53%) had absolute scotomas and seven (43%) had relative scotomas; the defects did not consistently correspond in size or location to the tumour as depicted by ophthalmoscopy or ultrasonography. This is in contradistinction to automated perimetry results in patients with choroidal melanoma. Three of the four eyes (75%) which were retested after treatment of the metastases showed improvement of the visual field. Seven of nine eyes (77%) that initially had reduced visual acuity had improvement after treatment. This clinical improvement corresponded well to tumour shrinkage and resolution of subretinal fluid. CONCLUSION: These findings may be useful in the decision to initiate treatment for symptomatic choroidal metastatic disease and in explaining to patients and their referring physicians what improvement could be expected from such treatment. A prospective evaluation of patients with choroidal metastases seems appropriate based on this pilot experience and may elucidate if the differences noted between visual field performance of these patients and those with choroidal melanoma may be useful in some diagnostically difficult cases.
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