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The Multifocal Electroretinogram

Hood, Donald C. PhD; Odel, Jeffrey G. MD; Chen, Candice S. MD; Winn, Bryan J. BA

State of the Art

The multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) technique allows local ERG responses to be recorded simultaneously from many regions of the retina. As in the case of the full-field ERG, the ganglion cells contribute relatively little to the response, which originates largely from the outer retina. The mfERG is particularly valuable in cases in which the fundus appears normal, and it is difficult to distinguish between diseases of the outer retina and diseases of the ganglion cells and/or optic nerve. The mfERG can also help to differentiate among outer retinal diseases, to follow the progression of retinal diseases, and, with the addition of the mfVEP, to differentiate between organic and nonorganic causes of visual loss. However, because the difficulties encountered in recording and analyzing mfERG responses are greater than those involved in full-field ERG testing, mfERG testing is best left to centers with an electrophysiologist familiar with the mfERG test. Although this technique is relatively new and standards are still being developed, centers capable of recording reliable mfERG responses can be found in hundreds of locations around the world.

From the Departments of Psychology (DCH, CSC, BJW) and Ophthalmology (JGO), Columbia University, New York, New York.

Reprints: Don Hood, Department of Psychology, 405 Schermerhorn, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. E-mail:

Supported in part by NIH/NEI grant EY09076.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.