The pattern electroretinogram in glaucoma patients with confirmed visual field deficits.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jul; 46(7):2411-8.IO
To better understand the relationship between the amplitude of the pattern electroretinogram (PERG) and visual loss, measured with static automated perimetry.
Transient PERGs were recorded in 15 patients (31-77 years) and 16 normal individuals (26-65 years). An eye was considered to have glaucomatous damage only if there was an abnormal disc, an abnormal 24-2 Humphrey visual field result (pattern stand deviation, glaucoma hemifield test, and cluster) and an abnormal multifocal visual evoked potential. All the worse (more affected) eyes of the patients and six of the better eyes met these criteria. The N95 amplitude of the PERG was measured from the positive peak (P50) at approximately 50 ms to the trough at approximately 95 ms. The ratio of N95 to P50-the N95 amplitude divided by the P50 amplitude-was also measured.
First, the PERG was within normal limits for 4 (26.7%) of the worse eyes. Overall, 6 (28.6%) of the 21 eyes that met the criteria for glaucomatous damage had normal PERGs on both PERG measures. Because the normal individuals were younger than the patients, an even larger number of normal PERGs might be expected with an age-appropriate control group. Second, the N95 amplitude was nonlinearly related to visual field sensitivity when sensitivity was plotted on a linear plot. Small field losses were associated with disproportionately large losses in PERG amplitude. Third, the PERG from both eyes of a patient were very similar, even when the visual fields suggested very different levels of damage.
These results are consistent with the view that very early damage can affect the PERG, even before the visual field shows a loss. At the same time, it is clear that patients with clear glaucomatous damage can have normal-appearing PERGs. An explanation is proposed to account for these findings.