Electrophysiological assessment of visual function in patients with non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy

Eur J Neurol. 2008 Aug;15(8):839-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02200.x. Epub 2008 Jun 28.


Background and purpose: Our study aims to evaluate retinal function and neural conduction in post-retinal visual pathways of patients with non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy (NION).

Methods: Twenty patients (mean age: 63.7 +/- 5.96 year) with NION and 20 age-similar control subjects were enrolled. Simultaneous recording of pattern electroretinograms (PERGs) and visual evoked potentials (VEPs), and Log of minimum angle resolution (MAR) visual acuity (VA) were assessed in NION patients and controls.

Results: Significantly (ANOVA, P < 0.01) abnormal PERG and VEP responses, delayed retinocortical time (RCT, difference between VEP P100 and PERG P50 implicit times), and reduced VA were found in NION patients with respect to control subjects. The delay in RCT was not significantly (Pearson's test, P > 0.01) correlated with the PERG impairment. The reduction in VA was significantly (Pearson's test, P < 0.01) correlated to the increase in VEP P100 implicit time and RCT, whereas no correlations (P > 0.01) were found with PERG abnormalities.

Conclusions: Non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy patients with a reduction in VA may present two different, unrelated impairments: a dysfunction of the inner retinal layer (abnormal PERG) and abnormal post-retinal neural conduction (abnormal VEP and RCT). The reduction in VA seems to be related to the post-retinal impairment and seems to be independent from the retinal dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Electroretinography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / physiopathology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology*