The multifocal visual evoked potential

J Neuroophthalmol. 2003 Dec;23(4):279-89. doi: 10.1097/00041327-200312000-00010.


With the multifocal technique, visual evoked potentials (VEPs) can be recorded simultaneously from many regions of the visual field. For the multifocal VEP (mfVEP), the patient views a display that typically contains 60 sectors, each with a checkerboard pattern. The display covers about the same retinal area as the 24-2 Humphrey visual field (HVF). However, due to the scaling of the sectors of the mfVEP display, the fields are sampled differently by the mfVEP and HVF. To assess local defects in the visual field, the mfVEP responses must be compared with normal controls. These comparisons require relatively sophisticated analyses and software. Whereas the mfVEP can be recorded relatively easily with the same equipment used to record multifocal electroretinograms (mfERGs), the software needed to perform the analysis is not yet widely available. The mfVEP is valuable for ruling out non-organic visual loss, diagnosing and following patients with optic neuritis/multiple sclerosis, evaluating patients with unreliable or questionable HVFs, and following disease progression. When combined with the mfERG, diseases of the outer retina (before the retinal ganglion cells) can be distinguished from diseases of the ganglion cells and/or optic nerve. The difficulties encountered in recording and analyzing mfVEP responses are greater than those involved in full-field VEP testing. Thus, in its current form, the mfVEP is best recorded and interpreted by ophthalmologists and electrophysiologists experienced with the technique. However, this technique is developing rapidly; advances in commercial hardware and software are expected in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electroretinography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnosis
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Visual Fields