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Vision Res. 1995 Aug;35(16):2383-93.

The electroretinographic diagnosis of the incomplete form of congenital stationary night blindness.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Fifteen patients with the incomplete form of congenital stationary night blindness (iCSNB) were reviewed to better characterize their electroretinographic (ERG) findings in view of differential diagnosis with other retinal conditions also presenting with negative bright-flash ERG responses. In all 15 patients, in dark-adapted conditions, the bright-flash ERG response had a normal a-wave followed by a subnormal b-wave. Oscillatory potentials (OPs) observed on the ascending limb of the b-wave, although delayed in implicit time, were of large amplitude. The response to a long-wavelength stimulus showed cone-related components and some well-delineated OPs. On the other hand, the photopically elicited cone responses were strongly abnormal, with a subnormal a-wave followed by a barely recordable b-wave. No OPs could be elicited under photopic conditions. The cone related components and the OP characteristics clearly distinguish iCSNB from the complete form of CSNB and other retinal conditions presenting with minimal fundus abnormalities but with negative bright-flash ERG responses, such as found in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Aland Island eye disease. The severely abnormal post-synaptic components in the photopic recordings contrast with the well-differentiated cone activity evoked in scotopic conditions. We propose a cone system that does not respond optimally under the normal operating range (photopic) but rather under mesopic or scotopic conditions. In spite of the severe cone-ERG deficits, visual acuity was only slightly reduced. We propose that the defect, which interferes marginally with the neuronal flow of information, lies in the structures responsible for the building of the b-wave.

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