Flash visually evoked potentials in the newborn and their maturation during the first six months of life

Doc Ophthalmol. Mar-May 2005;110(2-3):255-63. doi: 10.1007/s10633-005-0818-0.


The aim of this paper has been to obtain normative data for the major components of the visually evoked potentials obtained by flash stimulus (F-PEV) in the newborn, and to analyse the evolution of these responses during the first 24 weeks of life. In order to do so, F-VEP were recorded in 109 normal full-term newborn infants. Fifty-five of these infants were also studied longitudinally at 4, 8, 12 and 24 weeks. We recorded responses in all newborns. A great morphological variability was observed. P2 was the only component present in all of these infants. Early components, which were always present from the fourth week of life on, were recorded in 34% of the newborns. There were significant differences according to waking/sleep state. At 24 weeks the most characteristic response was a triphasic waveform with clear negative-positive-negative components at 67.9, 110 and 158.3 ms. The morphological variability observed in the F-PEV of the newborn and the presence of early components in some cases, suggest differences in the maturation of the specific and unspecific visual system at birth. The study of these responses provides us with information about certain aspects of visual maturation. The relative stability of P2 response of the newborn and of the early negative components later on, made them the most useful components to be used in paediatric clinical work . The latency of P2 in the newborn is the parameter that showed lower variability, and therefore the most suitable one to establish normative data.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology