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Br J Ophthalmol. 2001 Apr;85(4):414-9.

Assessment of early retinal changes in diabetes using a new multifocal ERG protocol.

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  • 1Fujita Health University, Aichi, Japan.



To assess early functional retinal changes in diabetics without retinopathy, a new multifocal stimulus paradigm was used that emphasises fast adaptive response contributions.


25 normal control subjects (25 eyes) and 11 diabetics without retinopathy (22 eyes) served as subjects. Stimulation and analysis were performed with Veris Science 4.0. A stimulation protocol was used that combines regular multifocal flicker stimulation with a periodic "global" flash inserted between the multifocal stimuli. The multifocal stimuli were presented four video frames apart. The global flash covered the entire screen in the third frame of the four frame interval. The remaining two frames were dark. The periodic global flashes could only contribute to the focal responses if they were affected by the multifocal stimulation. A non-linear component induced by the interaction of the focal and global flashes was observed. The differences between control subjects and diabetics were assessed in both the multifocal responses and their induced effect on the following global flashes.


The responses to focal flashes were reduced significantly in diabetics matched in age to the control subjects. The induced components showed large intersubject variability in controls and patients, and did not differ significantly between the two groups.


The periodic global flashes produce a greater multifocal response reduction in diabetics than in normals, indicating impairment in the rate or magnitude of recovery from the bright preceding stimulus. The new stimulation protocol reveals early changes in retinal function of diabetics.

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