Visual evoked potential and psychophysical contrast thresholds in glaucoma

Siti Nurliyana Abdullah, Gordon F. Sanderson, Andrew C. James, Vaegan, Ted Maddess*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: We compared the diagnostic power of electrophysiologically and psychophysically measured contrast thresholds for the diagnosis of glaucoma. Additionally, we investigated whether combining results from the two methods improved diagnostic power. Methods: Seven-eight subjects between 40 and 88 years formed the main study group: 21 normal controls (9 males) and 57 glaucoma patients (30 males) were tested. Twenty-two younger control subjects were also tested. Contrast thresholds were determined for a 1 cpd sinusoidal grating, subtending 41° × 52° modulated at 14.3 rps. The thresholds were based on the same staircase method applied to visual evoked potential (VEP) and psychophysical responses (Psyc). Diagnostic power was assessed by the percent area under the curve (%AUC) of receiver operating characteristic plots. Results: Psyc showed significant age dependence, -0.10 ± 0.02 dB, while VEPs did not. Diagnostic performance for moderate and severe eyes combined was modest: Psyc 74 ± 9.0 % and VEP 72 ± 9.1 %, but improved significantly (p < 0.05) for a simple combined method, up to 90 ± 6.0 % for moderate disease. The combined method improved %AUC for all severities on average (p < 0.03). Canonical correlation analysis indicated that the four threshold measures contained independent information and that these independent dimensions were each correlated with glaucoma severity (p < 0.0015). Conclusion: Combining the VEP and Psyc thresholds appeared to improve diagnostic power. Canonical correlation analysis indicated that they measured statistically independent aspects of glaucoma possibly related to disease severity. Adding the 20-s psychophysical test to a VEP test produced a significant benefit for a small time cost.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-120
    Number of pages10
    JournalDocumenta Ophthalmologica
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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