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U. Kellner, M. Richter, H. Tillack, H. Kraus, M.H. Foerster; Full-field ERG Abnormalities in Patients with Early Age-related Maculopathy . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):1780.
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Purpose: We have previously reported full-field ERG abnormalities in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) [Ladewig et al, submitted]. The purpose of the present study is to investigate retinal function in siblings of patients with AMD. Methods: Siblings (children, brothers and sisters over 50 years of age) of AMD patients were included in a prospective study. Baseline evaluation included: basic ophthalmologic examination, ETDRS visual acuity, reading visual acuity, colour vision testing, fundus photography, autofluorescence (HRA), fluorescein angiography, full-field and multifocal ERG recording (ISCEV standard). Results: 81 siblings of 68 AMD patients were included in the study up to now. At first examination, in 19 (23.5%) of the siblings morphological alterations in the macula (soft drusen with/without pigment epithelial abnormalities) consistent with early age related maculopathy (ARM) were present. Between the siblings with ARM or without ARM there was no difference concerning visual acuity and colour vision. The only significant difference between the two groups were detected in the full-field ERG: A significant reduction for siblings with ARM was detected for the 30 Hz flicker amplitude (p < 0.006). There was no significant difference for other full-field ERG parameters. When ARM was present unilateral, there was no difference in the full-field ERG between the eye with ARM and the eye without ARM. In the multifocal ERG, there was a tendency to lower amplitudes and longer implicit times for siblings with ARM. These differences, however, were not significant. Conclusion: A sibling study is an effective method to identify patients with early ARM. Unexpectedly, the full-field ERG and not the multifocal ERG revealed alterations of retinal function in siblings with ARM. Already in early age-related maculopathy widespread cone system dysfunction is present.
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