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Optometry. 2008 Jan;79(1):36-42.

The effects of cell phone use on peripheral vision.

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Southern College of Optometry, Memphis, TN 38104, USA.



Cell phone use and its distraction on a person's cognitive ability to assess information from a complex visual task, such as driving, have been demonstrated. Does talking on a cell phone cause a decrease in visual field awareness?


Goldmann visual fields were measured twice, with and without a cell phone conversation taking place. A College of Optometrists in Vision Development quality-of-life questionnaire (COVD-QOL) was administered to identify visually related symptoms.


Forty subjects (21 women and 19 men) aged 22 to 71 (mean age, 39.9 years) participated in the study. Significant overall constriction between the visual field isopters plotted during cell phone use, when compared with no cell phone use, was shown. Analysis of individuals with visual symptoms (COVD-QOL score of 20 or greater), were compared with those without visual symptoms (<20 on COVD-QOL). Both groups showed significant visual field constriction with cell phone use. The percentage of constriction was not significantly different between the 2 groups. Subjects with visual symptoms initially measured a more constricted visual field than did the nonvisual symptom group. The percentage of constriction of the nonvisual symptom group, while using a cell phone, was almost identical to the visual field constriction of the visual symptom group without cell phone use.


Cell phone conversations tend to artificially constrict the peripheral awareness as measured by a visual field. This suggests that cell phone use while driving can decrease the perceptual visual field, making the driver less aware of the surroundings and more susceptible to accident.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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