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ISCEV standard for clinical visual evoked potentials: (2016 update)

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Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) can provide important diagnostic information regarding the functional integrity of the visual system. This document updates the ISCEV standard for clinical VEP testing and supersedes the 2009 standard. The main changes in this revision are the acknowledgment that pattern stimuli can be produced using a variety of technologies with an emphasis on the need for manufacturers to ensure that there is no luminance change during pattern reversal or pattern onset/offset. The document is also edited to bring the VEP standard into closer harmony with other ISCEV standards. The ISCEV standard VEP is based on a subset of stimulus and recording conditions that provide core clinical information and can be performed by most clinical electrophysiology laboratories throughout the world. These are: (1) Pattern-reversal VEPs elicited by checkerboard stimuli with large 1 degree (°) and small 0.25° checks. (2) Pattern onset/offset VEPs elicited by checkerboard stimuli with large 1° and small 0.25° checks. (3) Flash VEPs elicited by a flash (brief luminance increment) which subtends a visual field of at least 20°. The ISCEV standard VEP protocols are defined for a single recording channel with a midline occipital active electrode. These protocols are intended for assessment of the eye and/or optic nerves anterior to the optic chiasm. Extended, multi-channel protocols are required to evaluate postchiasmal lesions.

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  1. A major determinant of the waveform of a VEP is the temporal frequency of the stimulus. At rapid stimulation rates, the waveform becomes approximately sinusoidal and is termed steady-state VEP. VEPs recorded with stimulation at lower temporal frequencies are termed transient VEPs.

  2. Michelson contrast = {[L max − L min]/[L max + L min]} × 100 %, where L = luminance, max = maximum of the white squares and min = minimum of the black squares.


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ISCEV’s standardization process requires the active participation of individual ISCEV members who act as consultants to the committee which writes the standard.

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Correspondence to J. Vernon Odom.

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Odom, J.V., Bach, M., Brigell, M. et al. ISCEV standard for clinical visual evoked potentials: (2016 update). Doc Ophthalmol 133, 1–9 (2016).

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