Electroretinography is a test to measure the electrical response of the eye's light-sensitive cells, called rods and cones. These cells are part of the retina (the back part of the eye).
ERG; Electrophysiologic testing
How the Test is Performed
While you are in a sitting position, the health care provider places numbing drops into your eyes, so you will not have any discomfort during the test. Your eyes are held open with a small device called a speculum. An electrical sensor (electrode) is placed on each eye.
The electrode measures the electrical activity of the
The provider will take the readings in normal room light and then again in the dark, after allowing 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust.
How to Prepare for the Test
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
How the Test will Feel
The probes that rest on your eye may feel a little scratchy. The test takes about 1 hour to perform.
Why the Test is Performed
This test is done to detect disorders of the retina. It is also useful for determining if retinal surgery is recommended.
Normal test results will show a normal A and B pattern in response to each flash.
What Abnormal Results Mean
The following conditions may cause abnormal results:
Arteriosclerosiswith damage to the retina
- Congenital night blindness
- Congenital retinoschisis (splitting of the retinal layers)
Giant cell arteritis
- Medicines (chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine)
Mucopolysaccharidosis Retinal detachment
- Rod-cone dystrophy
Vitamin A deficiency
The cornea may get a temporary scratch on the surface from the electrode. Otherwise, there are no risks with this procedure.
You should not rub your eyes for an hour after the test, as this could injure the cornea. Your provider will talk to you about the results of the test and what they mean for you.
Baloh RW, Jen JC. Neuro-ophthalmology. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 424.
Miyake Y, Shinoda K. Clinical electrophysiology. In: Schachat AP, Sadda SVR, Hinton DR, Wilkinson CP, Wiedemann P, eds. Ryan's Retina. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 10.
Reichel E, Klein K. Retinal electrophysiology. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 6.9.
Review Date: 08/28/2018
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright ©2019 A.D.A.M., Inc., as modified by University of California San Francisco. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Health. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.