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Jeff C. Rabin, Andrew C. Kryder, Dan Lam; Diagnosis of Normal and Abnormal Color Vision with Cone-Specific VEPs. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2016;5(3):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.5.3.8.
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Normal color vision depends on normal long wavelength (L), middle wavelength (M), and short wavelength sensitive (S) cones. Hereditary “red-green” color vision deficiency (CVD) is due to a shift in peak sensitivity or lack of L or M cones. Hereditary S cone CVD is rare but can be acquired as an early sign of disease. Current tests detect CVD but few diagnose type or severity, critical for linking performance to real-world demands. The anomaloscope and newer subjective tests quantify CVD but are not applicable to infants or cognitively impaired patients. Our purpose was to develop an objective test of CVD with sensitivity and specificity comparable to current tests.
A calibrated visual-evoked potential (VEP) display and Food and Drug Administration-approved system was used to record L, M, and S cone-specific pattern-onset VEPs from 18 color vision normals (CVNs) and 13 hereditary CVDs. VEP amplitudes and latencies were compared between groups to establish VEP sensitivity and specificity.
Cone VEPs show 100% sensitivity for diagnosis of CVD and 94% specificity for confirming CVN. L cone (protan) CVDs showed a significant increase in L cone latency (53.1 msec, P < 0.003) and decreased amplitude (10.8 uV, P < 0.0000005) but normal M and S cone VEPs (P > 0.31). M cone (deutan) CVDs showed a significant increase in M cone latency (31.0 msec, P < 0.000004) and decreased amplitude (8.4 uV, P < 0.006) but normal L and S cone VEPs (P > 0.29).
Cone-specific VEPs offer a rapid, objective test to diagnose hereditary CVD and show potential for detecting acquired CVD in various diseases.
This paper describes the efficacy of cone-specific color VEPs for quantification of normal and abnormal color vision. The rapid, objective nature of this approach makes it suitable for detecting color sensitivity loss in infants and the cognitively impaired.
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