, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 804-808

Electrophysiological assessment of visual function in newlydiagnosed IDDM patients

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Electrophysiological tests (electroretinogram, oscillatory potentials, visual evoked potentials, in the basal condition and after photostress) reveal an abnormal function of the visual system in insulin-dependent diabetic (IDDM) patients. The aim of our work was to assess whether electrophysiological abnormalities in visual function exist in newly-diagnosed diabetic patients free of any fluorangiographic signs of retinopathy. Ten control subjects (age 28.7±2.44 years) and ten IDDM patients (age 25.2±6.78 years; disease duration 5.3±3.5 months) in stable metabolic control (HbAlc7.5±1.1%) were evaluated. Flash-electroretinograms and oscillatory potentials were similar in both groups. Visual evoked potentials (VEP) recorded under basal conditions showed that P100 latency was significantly increased in the diabetic patients compared to control subjects (p < 0.01), while N75-P100 amplitude was similar in both groups. The recovery time of VEP after photo-stress was equivalent in diabetic patients and control subjects. The impaired basal VEPs suggest an early involvement of the nervous conduction in the optic nerve. However, the preserved flash-electroretino-gram and the normal recovery time after photostress indicate that a short disease duration does not induce physiopathological changes in the outer retinal layers or in the macular function.