Correlation of Macular Focal Electroretinogram with Ellipsoid Zone Extension in Stargardt Disease

J Ophthalmol. 2017:2017:3643495. doi: 10.1155/2017/3643495. Epub 2017 Aug 20.


Stargardt disease (STGD1) is the most common cause of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. This disease is characterized by a progressive accumulation of lipofuscin in the outer retina and subsequent loss of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between cone photoreceptor function and structure in STGD1. Macular function was assessed by visual acuity measurement and focal electroretinogram (FERG) recording while spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging was performed to evaluate the integrity of photoreceptors. FERG amplitude was significantly reduced in patients with Stargardt disease (p < 0.0001). The amplitude of FERG showed a negative relationship with interruption of ellipsoid zone (EZ) (R2 = 0.54, p < 0.0001) and a positive correlation with average macular thickness (AMT). Conversely, visual acuity was only weakly correlated with central macular thickness (CMT) (R2 = 0.12, p = 0.04). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that FERG amplitude is a reliable indicator of macular cone function while visual acuity reflects the activity of the foveal region. A precise assessment of macular cone function by FERG recording may be useful to monitor the progression of STGD1 and to select the optimal candidates to include in future clinical trials to treat this disease.