Glaucoma is one of a number of optic nerve diseases which lead to retinal ganglion cells (RGC) degeneration, ultimately manifesting in a functional loss of vision if left untreated. There exist a number of therapeutic approaches to treat these conditions, but there are currently no clinical methods to detect the onset of RGC dysfunction. The Pattern Electroretinogram (PERG) is the only established tool to monitor RGC health in vivo in humans and experimental models of optic nerve diseases. The monitoring of PERG responses can potentially provide earlier detection of degenerative retinal disorders such as glaucoma, allowing for treatment paradigms to be initiated before irreversible functional vision loss has occurred. A critical barrier to the widespread adoption of PERG for research and clinical use is the lack of availability of an easy-to-use, turnkey device for recording and data analysis. The goal of the proposed project is to produce commercially available devices for use in both vision research and clinical applications, which are more compact, faster, cheaper and more user-friendly. During Phase I, the following specific aims will pursued: 1) Development of a hardware platform containing a digital signal processor and the necessary amplifiers to interface with the next-generation PERG stimulators. 2) Development of a lightweight LED-based PERG stimulator for animal studies. 3) Development of a lightweight AMOLED-based goggle PERG stimulator for humans. 4) Development of advanced stimulation sequences which will reduce spurious cross talk components. The performance of the prototype devices will be evaluated and optimized. Successful completion of our research will provide allow large community of clinicians and scientists to more easily take advantage of the PERG technique.
Pattern Electroretinography (PERG) is an important indicator of Retinal Ganglion Cell (RGC) health, and can be used to monitor the progression of degenerative retinal diseases such as glaucoma. The implementation of the proposed next generation PERG devices and analysis methods is expected to increase the accessibility of detection systems both clinically and in research. The improved stimulator and analysis techniques are expected to increase the diagnostic value of the PERG response by increasing the quality and quantity of diagnostic measures. As such, the proposed work will greatly impact public health by improving screening measures for glaucoma and potentially other retinal disorders.