Visual Electrophysiology

Advanced visual electrophysiology testing enhances our capability to detect, diagnose and treat visual disorders.

The Department of Ophthalmology is at the forefront of research on human visual function. From investigating the mechanisms mediating human vision to exploring how visual perception affects automotive safety, to facilitating the development of a new visual prosthesis, we are engaged in pioneering research in key areas of human visual functioning. Through our unique visual electrophysiology program, our scientists and physicians are learning more about several areas of human visual function, including the physiology and pathophysiology of the human retina, the relationship between retinal physiology and retinal morphology, and the pathogenesis of retinal and optic nerve diseases. Furthermore, they are using this knowledge to develop more accurate methods for detecting and monitoring visual system disease.

Advanced visual electrophysiology testing

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology offers an advanced visual electrophysiology testing service that pairs the latest and most innovative technology with extensive clinical experience to effectively detect, diagnose and monitor the progression of visual system disease. Visual electrophysiology testing uses electroretinography (flash, pattern and multifocal), electro-oculography and visual evoked potentials to record the minute electrical responses of the retina and visual cortex and translate them into a graphic dissection of the visual pathway. This information allows our clinicians to more accurately detect, identify and localize lesions within the retina and retino-cortical visual pathway.

Visual electrophysiology research

Visual electrophysiology testing has allowed our physicians and researchers to:

  • Learn more about the physiology and pathophysiology of the human retina and visual pathways
  • Explore the relationship between retinal physiology and retinal morphology
  • Further explain the pathogenesis of retinal and optic nerve diseases
  • Develop innovative techniques to detect and access visual dysfunction

Visual electrophysiology and retinitis pigmentosa

In patients with retinitis pigmentosa, the electrical responses of the eye can reveal retinal dysfunction in its early stages, before a patient may even notice symptoms. Given that the symptoms of this currently incurable disease develop very slowly, early detection is critical. The information gained from visual electrophysiology testing is important in making an early and accurate diagnosis, predicting prognosis, monitoring disease progression and, in some cases, recommending genetic counseling. In order to provide optimal care for these patients, research is vital to refine our understanding of the pathophysiology of visual loss in this disease as well as to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential therapeutic approaches.

Other conditions

Visual electrophysiology testing also is helpful for patients with:

  • Other inherited retinal disorders, including congenital stationary night blindness and cone dystrophies
  • Toxic or nutritional eye disease – especially in patients being treated with plaquenil
  • Retinal detachment, especially with opaque media
  • Retinal ischemia, including diabetic vascular disease, retinal vein occlusion and retinal artery occlusion
  • Endophthalmitis
  • Cases of unexplained visual loss or malingering
  • Abnormalities of binocular vision
  • Opacities in the ocular media
  • Retinal, optic nerve or cortical trauma
  • Ocular hypertension and glaucoma

Advanced treatment for eye disease

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology has extensive experience in the treatment of all eye diseases, regardless of their complexity. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it. Our patients have access to advanced diagnostic tests and treatment and, if eligible, related clinical trials.


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