Checkerboard pattern reversal visual evoked potentials (VEPs) have proved useful in the confirmation of optic nerve disease in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently, evidence of orientation-specific loss in contrast sensitivity and the presence of orientation-specific visual evoked potential (VEP) deficits in MS patients has been obtained using sinusoidal gratings as stimuli. This study reports the presence of orientation-specific VEP delay in MS using the conventional checkerboard pattern presented in two orientations: normally oriented (check condition) or diagonally oriented (diamond condition).
Peak latency values of the N70 and P100 components of the VEP were statistically analyzed using appropriate ANOVA and nonparametric statistics. As a group MS patients showed significant VEP delays under check and diamond pattern conditions. However, individual subject analysis revealed that about 20% of the MS population show VEP delay to only one pattern orientation. It was shown that by including a diamond pattern condition the diagnostic yield of VEP delay in these clinically definite MS patients was increased 11% over that obtained with check stimulation alone.