What is the role of visual evoked potentials (VEP) testing in the workup of optic neuritis in multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Feb 21, 2019
  • Author: Fiona Costello, MD, FRCP; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

In clinical practice, visual evoked potentials (VEP) testing is typically unnecessary to confirm the diagnosis of optic neuritis. When mild optic neuritis or subclinical optic nerve damage is suspected, VEP testing can be useful in capturing the effects of prior demyelinating injury. Abnormal VEP findings in this context include increased latencies and reduced amplitudes of waveform. However, VEP abnormalities are not restricted to optic neuritis and may also occur with other conditions, such as optic-nerve compression, infiltration, and nondemyelinating inflammation. [23] Multifocal VEP can be a more sensitive and specific tool for detecting optic neuritis in suspected clinically overt or clinically occult cases of optic neuritis, although the technique is not widely available for routine clinical use. [23]


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