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Overcoming Challenges in Amblyopia Detection using Visual Evoked Potential (VEP)

PINE BROOK, N.J., July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Vision Problems in infants and pre-verbal children are a challenge for ophthalmologists and optometrists to diagnose and manage. Many vision tests look at just the structure of the eye or require a verbal response which many children are either unable or unwilling to give. Dr. Sean Donahue and colleagues at Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, TN recently presented a poster, Visually Evoked Potential Detection of Amblyopia in the Clinic, at the annual American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) meeting. Their research helps provide a solution to eye care specialists for their pediatric patients.

Office-based visual evoked potential (VEP) technology from Diopsys, Inc. allows eye care professionals to objectively measure the function of the entire visual pathway without the patient having to say a word. VEPs are electrical signals ("brain waves") that are measured at the visual cortex. VEPs occur when a patient observes a visual stimulus, such as a flash of light or a pattern on a monitor. VEP results are a representation of the functional integrity of the visual system including the retina, optic nerve, optic radiations, and visual cortex.

Dr. Donahue used this technology to develop a user and patient friendly test to aide in the diagnosis and management of amblyopia in children. He describes amblyopia as "poor vision in an eye that otherwise appears normal and occurs when the brain does not recognize the sight from that eye. Eventually, the brain stops using the weaker eye, causing poor vision or even permanent visual impairment."

By testing both normal children and children with amblyopia with the Diopsys® NOVA-TR system, researchers found that a simple 5-minute VEP protocol correctly identified children with amblyopia more than 80% of the time. "This is important since fixation preference testing can be unreliable in detecting amblyopia in preverbal children," said Dr. Donahue. Additionally, the researchers found that this testing method correctly identified normal patients nearly 94% of the time, and could also help classify patients with amblyopia as "mild" or "moderate to severe."  This study was so successful the poster went on to win "Best in Show" at the meeting.

The Diopsys® NOVA-TR VEP Vision Testing System is easy to use, non-invasive, and testing times are flexible and depend upon the customized settings designated by the clinician. Automation of the test protocol used for the study, the Diopsys® NOVA-PED, is currently under development and is projected to be available later this year.

Diopsys, Inc. ( is a medical instrumentation company dedicated to delivering high-quality, cost-effective preventative health care solutions. The company specializes in the development and marketing of patient-friendly, non-invasive vision testing equipment utilizing Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) technology.

SOURCE Diopsys, Inc.
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