Which factors contribute to the clinical usefulness of visual evoked potential (VEP) testing?

Updated: Oct 25, 2019
  • Author: Andrew B Evans, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Factors contributing to the clinical usefulness of VEP testing include the following:

  • It is more sensitive than MRI or physical examination for prechiasmatic lesions

  • It is an objective and reproducible test for optic nerve function

  • The abnormality observed persists over long periods

  • It is inexpensive as compared with MRI

  • Under certain circumstances, it may be helpful for positively establishing optic nerve function in patients with a subjective complaint of visual loss; a normal VEP virtually excludes an optic nerve or anterior chiasmatic lesion

In general, the VEP is preferable in cases of optic nerve and anterior chiasmatic lesions, whereas MRI is clearly superior in retrochiasmatic disease. Note that the VEP is nonspecific with regard to the underlying etiology and pathology.


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