Light-adapted ERG differences in autism spectrum disorder

Paul A. Constable, Edward R Ritvo, Ariella R Ritvo, Irene O Lee, Morgan L McNair, Dylan Stahl, Jane Sowden, Steve Quinn, David H Skuse, James C McPartland, Dorothy A Thompson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Purpose: To determine if retinal signals measured using the lightadapted
ERG (LA ERG) differ in size or timing in young people with
autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neurodevelopmental disorder.
Methods: LA ERGs were recorded from 90 ASD individuals, mean
age 13.0 ± 4.2 years, and compared with those from a control group
of 87 individuals, mean age 13.8 ± 4.8 years. A Troland based,
random nine-step, full-field LA ERG flash series and the ISCEV
standard LA3 was performed on both eyes of each subject using the
RETeval (LKC Technologies Inc, Gaithersburg, MD, USA) at 2/s, on
a 30 cd.m-2 white background. The timing and amplitudes of the aand
b-waves, and the ratio of b:a amplitude produced by each flash
strength were measured. Mathematical models of the photopic hill
function using a sum of Gaussian (representing OFF-bipolar cell
input) and logistic functions (representing ON-bipolar cell input), as
detailed by Hamilton et al. (Vision Res 2007,47:2968–72) and random
effects statistical analysis were carried out to compare the retinal
responses between the two groups. Each subject contributed data
from one eye.
Results: LA b-wave amplitudes were smaller in the ASD group, most
markedly at higher flash strengths, 13 and 16 cd.s.m-2 (p\0.004)
with slower b-wave time to peaks (p = 0.001). The ON-bipolar cell
input to the photopic hill was significantly different between groups
and a higher flash strength was required by the ASD group to attain
the photopic hill maxima (p\.001).
Conclusion: Retinal signals differ in young people with ASD.
Smaller LA b-waves noted at high flash strengths appear associated
with an altered ON-bipolar input. The results from this large study
support the potential of using the ERG to quantify differences in the
CNS in neurodevelopmental conditions.
Acknowledgment: The authors would like to thank the participants
and their families for their support and Quentin Davis and Joshua
Santosa of LKC Technologies for programming the RETeval custom
Financial support: Alan B Slifka Foundation; National Institute of
Health U19 MH108206; National Institute for Health R01
MH100173; The Gilbert Trust, UCLA.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019
Event57th Annual Symposium of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision (ISCEV 2019), Seoul, Korea, 7–10 October 2019 - South Korea, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 7 Oct 201910 Oct 2019


Conference57th Annual Symposium of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision (ISCEV 2019), Seoul, Korea, 7–10 October 2019
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address


  • Light
  • ERG
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder


Dive into the research topics of 'Light-adapted ERG differences in autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this