Visual Electrodiagnostic Testing in Macular disease
in Macular Degeneration, News
26 May 2020
Eye electrophysiology is an increasingly essential part of diagnosing a range of ophthalmic conditions, in particular inherited retinal conditions and retinal toxicity. Electrophysiology is also extremely important in monitoring disease progression, treatment efficacy and determining long term visual outcomes for patients. It has proven to be especially useful in the field of retinal research. It is a unique testing system that allows to determine and record separate responses from the retinal layers, as well as examine the visual pathway.
Macular conditions have a great impact on vision. The macula is a highly specialised area of the central retina which provides vital visual information that determines visual acuity and colour vision. When the macula is damaged such as in Macular Degeneration, the vision is impaired. Sometimes however vision and / or colour vision can be impaired, but no obvious aetiology can be determined by a simple fundoscopy exam. Electrophysiology tests that measure macula function such as the Pattern Electroretinogram and Multifocal electroretinogram are essential in determining the cause of vision loss in a timely fashion especially if the underlying cause is treatable. Equally important is the ability to differentiate between inherited diseases of the macula and acquired diseases such as drug-induced toxicities. Monitoring macula function is important to establish long term visual outcomes so that appropriate support services are provided to patients as early as possible.
The Eye electrophysiology clinic at Save Sight Institute offers over 10 different retinal and optic nerve assessments. For better diagnostics certain tests are conducted as a suite of tests to complement each other to provide complete clinical information. In doing so, we have been able to diagnose inherited macula diseases, acquired macula diseases, autoimmune macula disorders and macular toxicities. We have also been able to monitor treatment efficacy in treatable macular conditions. Without these tests, many of these illnesses would have remained undiagnosed, as they are not always obvious on fundoscopic examination and multiple macular conditions have similar presentations on routine ophthalmic exam, hence visual electrophysiology testing is an extremely important tool in diagnosing and managing macular disease.