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Multifocal VEP (mfVEP) reveals abnormal neuronal delays in diabetes


This pilot study examined the diagnostic role of multifocal visually evoked potentials (mfVEP) in a small number of patients with diabetes. mfVEP, mfERG, and fundus photographs of both eyes of five patients with diabetes, three with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and two without NPDR were examined. Thirteen control subjects were also examined. Eighteen zones were constructed from the 60-element mfVEP stimulus array. mfVEP implicit time (IT) and amplitude (SNR) differences were tested between subject groups. We also examined whether there was a difference in function for patches with and without retinopathy in the NPDR group. Lastly, we compared mfVEP and mfERG results in the same patients. We found significant mfVEP IT differences between controls and all patients with diabetes, controls and diabetics without retinopathy, and between controls and diabetics with retinopathy. The subject groups did not differ significantly in terms of SNR. In the retinopathy group, ITs from zones with retinopathy were significantly longer than ITs from zones without retinopathy (P = 0.016). mfERG IT was more frequently abnormal than mfVEP IT. In addition, mfERG hexagons were twice as likely to be abnormal if the corresponding mfVEP zone was abnormal (P < 0.05). mfVEP implicit times are significantly delayed in patients with diabetes even when there is no retinopathy. These cortical response results are similar, albeit considerably less abnormal, than those previously reported for retinal (mfERG) responses in patients with diabetes. A correlation exists between the location of abnormal mfERG hexagons and abnormal mfVEP zones.

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