Evidence for early impairment of macular function with pattern ERG in type I diabetic patients

Salvatore Caputo, Mauro A.S. Di Leo, Benedetto Falsini, Giovanni Ghirlanda, Vittorio Porciatti, Angelo Minella, Aldo V. Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The electroretinogram (ERG) elicited by alternating gratings at constant mean luminance (pattern ERG) is a focal response reflecting the activity of the directly stimulated retinal area. In addition, pattern ERG is related, unlike the flash ERG, to ganglion cell activity. Therefore, this technique may be used to evaluate the integrity of inner retinal layers in the macular region. In this study, the steady-state pattern ERG, in response to alternating gratings (1.7 cycles/deg spatial frequency; 9° field size) temporally modulated at 8 Hz, was recorded in 42 type I (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients with zero to four microaneurysms on fluorescein angiography and a duration of disease <11 yr. No patient had concomitant ocular or systemic complications. Mean pattern-ERG amplitude was significantly reduced in patients compared with age-matched control subjects (analysis of variance, F = 25.6, P < 0.0001). Significant differences were observed between control and diabetic subjects without retinopathy (Scheffé F test, P < 0.0001), between control and retinopathic subjects (Scheffé F test, P < 0.0001), and between diabetic patients without retinopathy and those with early retinopathy (Scheffé F test, P < 0.02). Pattern-ERG amplitude was inversely correlated with duration of diabetes (r = 0.22, P < 0.05). Our results suggest a macular dysfunction in early diabetes resulting from metabolic and/or vascular injuries in the neurosensory retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-418
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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