Albinism in childhood: a flash VEP and ERG study.
Flash visual evoked potentials (F. VEPs) and electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded in a total of 20 young children with albinism (age range 5 months to 11 years, mean 4 years). All recordings were made without sedation. There were 13 oculocutaneous cases (one with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome) and seven ocular albinos. Monocular flash stimulation commonly elicited an asymmetrical occipital VEP distribution with a well lateralised component at around 80 ms which was of opposite polarity in a comparison of VEPs from each eye. None of the normally pigmented matched controls or obligate female carriers showed this anomalous distribution. The albino electroretinogram, compared with controls, recorded under fully darkened conditions had a significantly larger a wave and significantly shorter latencies for both a and b waves. The accentuated ERG and asymmetrical VEP recorded in infants and young children with albinism permits distinction of these patients from those with congenital cone dysfunction and idiopathic nystagmus, with whom they may be confused by a clinical examination only.