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Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2006 Apr;17(2):196-202.

Pattern electroretinogram in glaucoma.

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.



Several studies have shown that the pattern electroretinogram, a direct, objective method of measuring retinal ganglion cell function, is altered early in ocular hypertension and glaucoma. Renewed interest in the pattern electroretinogram for early detection of pre-perimetric glaucoma has been sparked by noninvasive and reproducible methods of recording using skin electrodes.


With the noninvasive pattern electroretinogram, response abnormalities have been detected in up to 50% of glaucoma suspects with normal standard perimetry. In early glaucoma (with either normal or high intraocular pressure), a reduction of intraocular pressure has sometimes yielded improvement in pattern electroretinogram amplitude. A prolonged steady-state stimulus presentation reduces the pattern electroretinogram amplitude and increases optic nerve blood flow in normal subjects, suggesting that sustained activity of retinal ganglion cells is physiologically associated with autoregulatory changes of the neural-vascular system. It is unknown whether this autoregulation is altered in glaucoma. The multifocal pattern electroretinogram does not seem to have an advantage over the pattern electroretinogram in the early detection of glaucoma. The photopic negative response of the diffuse flash electroretinogram has shown changes in glaucoma, but may not be able to detect retinal dysfunction in normal tension glaucoma.


The pattern electroretinogram is a noninvasive, direct, objective method that may be useful to clinicians in detecting early retinal ganglion cell dysfunction in glaucoma suspects. The pattern electroretinogram may also optimize treatment strategies based on improvement of retinal ganglion cell function.

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