Cone flicker threshold rises as the rods dark adapt, though the cone threshold to continuous light remains constant. The rise is normally about 1 log unit, but in certain patients who complain of night blindness it may be as great as 2.5 log units. In these persons the kinetics of the rod-cone interaction are those of the recovery of rod sensitivity. The rods impose a low-pass filter on the cones. This effect is absent in congenital nyctalopia and X-linked retinoschisis. We suggest that cone flicker is maintained through a feedback system involving horizontal cells, and when the rod dark current returns in dark adaptation this feedback is altered. Rod cone interaction thus tests rod dark current, and cases of abnormal interaction in patients with retinitis pigmentosa occur, which indicate that the transduction mechanism and the membrane dark current may be differentially affected.
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