May 102011

Jack had his VEP (Visual Evoked Potential) and ERG (Electro-retinogram) tests at the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary), Newcastle today.  First, eye drops were placed in his eyes to enlarge the pupils.  Dad then held Jack on his lap whilst one Doctor put electrodes on the top and back of his head and another hooked him up to a computer.

For the VEP test (to measure brain activity) an eye patch was put over his right eye and a big eyeball looking piece of equipment was wheeled in front of his face. The machine started to flash white lights and the electrodes captured how Jack’s brain responded to it. There was a small clear ball inside with a toy train in it which one of the doctors kept rolling about to keep him looking forwards. The flash tests were completed with a light on inside the machine, then without (approximately 5 minutes each). The eye patch was then switched to his left eye and the tests repeated.

For the ERG test (to measure eye activity) the electrodes were removed from the back of Jack’s head and a new set placed on his face. The eye patch was removed. The same eyeball machine was used, but we had to sit in complete darkness for 10 minutes first so Jack’s eyes adjusted to the darkness. The Doctor put a Disney CD on with songs such as Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations, and Hakuna Matata (“It means no worries, for the rest of your days”) from the Lion King. The machine then started to flash again – a blue light this time for approximately 10 minutes. In this test the electrodes measured the retinal (eye) response to flashes.

Jack was very well behaved throughout (other than trying to eat the machine!!!) and the Doctors said they wished all their patients were so good :-)

Unfortunately we weren’t able to get the results today but we were told that the nystagmus appears consistent in both eyes and fairly mild. We were advised the results will take at least three weeks to process, and the next step is to await an appointment back at Sunderland Eye Hospital.

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