Releasing patients from the fixation task, and permitting them to view natural stimuli such as movies, would provide increased comfort, and potentially additional signs of retinal function, when recording multifocal electroretinograms (mfERGs). Techniques must be developed to handle the difficulties that arise from these alternative stimulation strategies. Multifocal stimuli were presented to volunteer human subjects with and without fixation. Retinocentric analyses were performed to deal with shifts of the stimulus across the retina in the presence of eye movements. Artificial scotomas that moved with the eyes to simulate local retinal defects were presented to assess whether such defects might be detectable in the presence of eye movements. Temporal and spatial correlations in the stimulus can be discounted, permitting retinal kernels to be measured in response to natural stimuli. Responses to temporally natural stimuli tend to have slightly stronger amplitudes because of the presence of low temporal frequencies in these stimuli. The effects of eye movement artifacts can be reduced, permitting similar kernels to be obtained in the absence and presence of eye movements. Convergence to stable kernels took slightly longer in the presence of temporal correlations or eye movements. Artificial scotomas can be localized with these methods. It may be possible to perform multifocal ERG recordings in the clinic using more flexible, natural techniques. However, work is needed to achieve results comparable to those routinely obtained with conventional methods.
Keywords: decorrelation; eye movements; kernel analysis; multifocal ERG; retinal function; scotoma.