Abstract The peripheral dioptrics of the eye displays a considerable error of refraction caused primarily by oblique-ray astigmatism. It was hypothesised that this refractive error might contribute to the well known reduction in visual acuity in the peripheral visual field. Independent experiments were carried out in two laboratories, using different methods and different targets; sinusoidal gratings and Landolt rings. A third experiment was run in which two subjects from one laboratory were tested in the other. Measurements of visual acuity were obtained between 0° and 60° of eccentricity along the horizontal meridian both with and without correction of refractive error. The results of all three experiments indicate that the existing errors in refraction do not influence peripheral visual acuity.