The human eye has special light receptor cells called rods and cones that help you to see. These cells make up the retina of your eye, and the average person has around 100 million rods and six million cone cells in their eye. Electroretinography (ERG) testing is designed to measure how these cells respond to light, which impacts your vision. Understanding why Brooklyn, NY eye specialists recommend ERG testing and what the results can reveal helps you see how this simple test can detect serious retinal conditions.
What Happens During an ERG Test?
There are two main types of ERG tests that your eye specialist may perform. If you have a standard ERG test, then you should expect it to take around an hour. A multifocal test generally takes longer, which could add an additional hour. During the test, your eye doctor will place special electrodes on your forehead and eyes, which should be painless. Some people might feel a sensation that is similar to sensing a foreign body in the eye, such as an eyelash. Once the test begins, you’ll look into a bowl of light while the electrodes detect how the cells in your eyes respond.
What Eye Conditions Can the ERG Test Detect?
Your ophthalmologist may refer you for ERG testing when you have a genetic risk for developing certain eye conditions. This type of test is also effective for tracking changes in your eye health when you take certain medications or have a known chronic condition. You could also need this form of testing to confirm your eye doctor’s suspicion that you have a retinal health disorder.
ERG testing is known among eye care professionals for being the gold standard for identifying conditions that include the following:
- retinitis pigmentosa
- congenital night blindness
- diabetic retinopathy
- giant cell arteritis
- macular degeneration
- cone rod dystrophy
- vitamin A deficiency
Keep in mind that certain conditions may require additional testing. Always make sure to follow up with your doctor to make sure that you receive the best understanding of your overall eye health.
What Happens After You Finish ERG Testing?
ERG testing is often done by a technician at your eye clinic who then sends the results to your eye doctor. However, your doctor may do the testing themselves, which could lead to faster results. In either case, your vision specialist will use the results along with other information they have about your eye health to provide you with a diagnosis. Once you have a retinal health disorder diagnosis, you’ll work together to develop a treatment plan that helps you preserve or regain your vision.
ERG testing is a painless way to learn more about the changes that could be occurring in your eyes’ retinas. When your eye doctor refers you for this test, they may already have concerns that you could have a serious retinal health condition. Whether you have a genetic risk for inheriting a retinal disorder or are noticing changes in your vision that includes being unable to see certain colors or having dark spots in your field of view, make sure to follow through with the recommendation to have this type of test. Knowing more about your retinal health empowers you to work with your eye doctor to make sure your eyesight lasts as long as possible.