Electrophysiological assessment of visual function in IDDM patients

Vincenzo Parisi, Luigi Uccioli, Giovanna Monticone, Leoluca Parisi, Gianluca Manni, Daniela Ippoliti, Guido Menzinger, Massimo G. Bucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various electrophysiological tests have been employed to reveal functional abnormalities at different levels of the visual system in insulin-dependent diabetic (IDDM) patients. The aim of our work was to assess, with a comprehensive neurophysiological protocol evaluating the retinal, macular and visual pathways functions, whether and when such electrophysiological abnormalities do appear in IDDM patients free of any fluorangiographic sign of retinopathy with various disease duration. Flash-electroretinogram (ERG), oscillatory potentials (Ops), pattern-electroretinogram (PERG), and visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in basal condition and after photostress were assessed in 12 control subjects (C) and 42 aged-matched IDDM patients without clinical retinopathy (DR-) divided, on the basis of the disease duration, into 4 groups (1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20 years). In addition another age-matched group of IDDM patients with a background retinopathy (DR+; n = 12; duration of disease 18 ± 49 years) was evaluated. In all IDDM DR - patients PERG and VEP were significantly impaired. In addition, groups 11-15 and 16-20 years displayed impaired OPs. All electrophysiological parameters were further impaired in DR+ patients. In conclusion, retinal, macular and visual pathways functions are differently impaired in IDDM (DR-) patients with different disease duration. Electrophysiological impairment starts in the nervous conduction of the visual pathways with an early involvement, goes on in the Innermost retinal layers and in the macula and ends in the middle and outer retinal layers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997


  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Electroretinogram
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Macular function
  • Photostress
  • Visual evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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