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The a-wave of the dark adapted electroretinogram in glaucomas: are photoreceptors affected?
  1. Isabel M Velten,
  2. Matthias Korth,
  3. Folkert K Horn
  1. Department of Ophthalmology and University Eye Hospital, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany
  1. Dr Isabel M Velten, Augenklinik mit Poliklinik der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, D-91054 Erlangen, Germanyisabel.velten{at}


AIMS To evaluate whether the a-wave of the dark adapted flash electroretinogram (ERG) is affected by glaucomatous damage.

METHODS ERGs were recorded in 20 patients (age 33–65 years) with advanced glaucomas (primary and secondary open angle and low tension glaucomas) and 20 normals using a ganzfeld stimulus. After 30 minutes of dark adaptation and pupil dilatation to at least 7.5 mm in diameter, luminance response functions were obtained presenting white flashes of increasing scotopic luminance (the highest flash intensity being 9.4 cd/s/m2, the lowest being 5.75 log units below it) with an interflash interval of 5 seconds. For each scotopic luminance, the responses of four flashes were averaged. The a-wave's amplitude was measured at 10, 11, and 12 ms. Within the glaucoma group, correlations between the interocular differences of the a-wave's amplitude and the mean deviation of a static perimetry (Octopus 500 perimeter, program G1) were computed for all flash intensities. Between normals and glaucomas, the a-wave's amplitude was compared for all flash intensities (pairedt test).

RESULTS Within the glaucoma group, the interocular differences of the a-wave's amplitudes correlated significantly with the differences of the MD for flash intensities of 9.4, 5.3, 1.7, and 0.5 cd/s/m2. The a-wave's amplitude was significantly lower in the glaucoma compared with the normal group (p <0.005) for flash intensities of 9.4 and 5.3 cd/s/m2.

CONCLUSION These electrophysiological results imply that also the outer retinal structures, especially the photoreceptors, may be affected by glaucomatous damage.

  • dark adapted electroretinogram
  • glaucomas
  • photoreceptors

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