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Vis Neurosci. 1992 Feb;8(2):145-50.

Light adaptation, rods, and the human cone flicker ERG.

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  • 1Hines VA Hospital, IL 60141.


During the course of light adaptation, the amplitude and implicit time of the human cone ERG change systematically. In the present study, the effect of adapting field luminance on these ERG changes was assessed, and the hypothesis that light adaptation of the rod system is the primary determining factor was evaluated. Cone ERG responses, isolated through the use of 31.1-Hz flicker, were obtained from two visually normal subjects, initially under dark-adapted conditions and then repeatedly for 30 min following the onset of each of a series of ganzfeld adapting fields with luminances that ranged from -1.2 to 2.1 log cd/m2. The increase in flicker ERG amplitude and decrease in implicit time during light adaptation were greatest at the highest adapting field luminances. Photopically equivalent achromatic and long-wavelength adapting fields induced comparable increases in flicker ERG amplitude, while scotopically equivalent adapting fields had considerably different effects. This latter finding demonstrates that the rod system is not a major determinant of the adaptation-induced increase in cone ERG amplitude.

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