PURPOSE: In animal models hemi-field deprivation results in localised, graded vitreous chamber elongation and presumably deprivation induced localised changes in retinal processing. The aim of this research was to determine if there are variations in ERG responses across the retina in normal chick eyes and to examine the effect of hemi-field and full-field deprivation on ERG responses across the retina and at earlier times than have previously been examined electrophysiologically.
METHODS: Chicks were either untreated, wore monocular full-diffusers or half-diffusers (depriving nasal retina) (n = 6-8 each group) from day 8. mfERG responses were measured using the VERIS mfERG system across the central 18.2º× 16.7º (H × V) field. The stimulus consisted of 61 unscaled hexagons with each hexagon modulated between black and white according to a pseudorandom binary m-sequence. The mfERG was measured on day 12 in untreated chicks, following 4 days of hemi-field diffuser wear, and 2, 48 and 96 h after application of full-field diffusers.
RESULTS: The ERG response of untreated chick eyes did not vary across the measured field; there was no effect of retinal location on the N1-P1 amplitude (p = 0.108) or on P1 implicit time (p > 0.05). This finding is consistent with retinal ganglion cell density of the chick varying by only a factor of two across the entire retina. Half-diffusers produced a ramped retina and a graded effect of negative lens correction (p < 0.0001); changes in retinal processing were localized. The untreated retina showed increasing complexity of the ERG waveform with development; form-deprivation prevented the increasing complexity of the response at the 2, 48 and 96 h measurement times and produced alterations in response timing.
CONCLUSIONS: Form-deprivation and its concomitant loss of image contrast and high spatial frequency images prevented development of the ERG responses, consistent with a disruption of development of retinal feedback systems. The characterisation of ERG responses in normal and deprived chick eyes across the retina allows the assessment of concurrent visual and retinal manipulations in this model.