Electroretinogram recording for infants and children under anesthesia to achieve optimal dark adaptation and international standards

Byron L. Lam, Carlos Mendoza-Santiestaban, Alex Gonzalez, Cornelis Rowaan, Mu Liu, Joanne Martin, Steven Gayer, Osmany Gil Figueredo, Jean Marie Parel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electroretinogram (ERG) is the only clinical objective test available to assess retinal function. Full-field ERG (ffERG) measures the panretinal rod and cone photoreceptor function as well as inner retinal function and is an important measure in the diagnosis and management of inherited retinal diseases as well as inflammatory, toxic, and nutritional retinopathies. Adhering to international standards and maintaining retinal dark adaptation are critical to acquire valid and reliable dark-adapted (scotopic) and light-adapted (photopic) ffERG responses. Performing ffERG in infants and children is challenging and often requires general anesthesia in the operating room. However, maintaining retinal dark adaptation in the operating room is becoming increasingly difficult given the numerous light sources from anesthesiology monitoring systems and other equipment. A practical and widely applicable method for ffERG testing is described in the operating room that optimizes retinal dark adaptation. The method reduces operating room time by dark-adapting the patient before general anesthesiology is instituted. The operating room is modified for dark adaptation and any remaining light source in the darkened operating room is minimized with the use of a modified portable foldable darkroom that encloses the patient’s head and the ERG examiner during ffERG scotopic recordings. The simple method adheres to ffERG international standards and provides valid reliable scotopic and photopic ffERG recordings that are critical to assess objective retinal function in this young age group where subjective assessment of visual function such as visual acuity and visual fields are not possible. Furthermore, the ffERG is the gold standard clinical test in detecting early onset inherited retinal diseases including Leber congenital amaurosis where approved gene therapy has become available. In sedated conditions, very low amplitude ffERG signals can be detected due to minimal orbicularis muscle activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere61734
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number163
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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