PURPOSE: Previous investigations have demonstrated a relative vascular autoregulatory inefficiency of the inferior compared to the superior retina in healthy subjects breathing increased CO2. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the superior and inferior visual field sensitivities of healthy eyes are similarly affected during mild hypercapnia. DESIGN: Experimental study. METHODS: Visual field analysis (Humphrey Field Analyser; SITA standard 24-2 program) was carried out on one randomly selected eye of 22 subjects (mean age, 27.7 ± 5 years) during normal room air breathing and isoxic hypercapnia. The Student paired t-tests were used to compare the visual field indices mean deviation (MD) and pattern standard deviation (PSD) for each breathing condition. A secondary, sectoral analysis of mean pointwise sensitivity was performed for each condition. In each case a P value of <.01 was considered statistically significant (Bonferroni corrected). RESULTS: Visual field MD was -0.23 ± 0.95dB during room air breathing and -0.49 ± 1.04dB during hypercapnia (P = .034). Sectoral pointwise mean sensitivity deteriorated by 0.46dB (P = .006) in the upper visual hemifield during hypercapnia, whereas no significant difference was observed for the lower hemifield (P = .331). CONCLUSIONS: The upper visual hemifield exhibited a significantly greater degree of deterioration in pointwise visual field mean sensitivity compared to the lower hemifield during hypercapnic conditions. This suggests that the upper visual hemifield and hence inferior retina is more susceptible to insult during hypercapnia than the superior retina in healthy individuals. A regional susceptibility of inferior retinal function to altered vascular or metabolic effects may account for the earlier and more frequent inferior nerve fibre damage associated with glaucomatous optic neuropathy. © 2003 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.