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April 1994

Pattern Reversal Visual Evoked Potentials Following Early Treatment of Unilateral, Congenital Cataract

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(4):510-518. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090160086026

Objective:  To describe the pattern reversal visual evoked potentials (VEPs) that were used to monitor and quantify early visual development following treatment for dense, unilateral, congenital cataract.

Design:  Longitudinal prospective study.

Patients:  Six infants who underwent surgery and contact lens correction before age 5 months and who had good compliance with occlusion therapy throughout the first 3 years of life.

Results:  Initially, VEPs from aphakic eyes showed marked abnormalities, including small amplitudes, prolonged latencies, missing components, and absent VEPs to small check sizes. Threshold check size was elevated by 3 octaves or more. With part-time occlusion of the opposite eye, VEPs normalized rapidly in the first year, but residual deficits remained to age 4 years when visual acuities were between 20/50 and 20/120 in aphakic eyes. Threshold check size clearly differentiated between aphakic and normal eyes and was the only VEP parameter that was correlated with single-letter visual acuity. Thus, threshold check size had greater clinical use than measures of pattern VEPs based on latency, amplitude, or waveform.

Conclusions:  Patients treated for unilateral congenital cataract, who have early surgery and contact lens correction and comply with occlusion therapy, show a period of rapid VEP maturation and have a good visual prognosis.