Retinal pigment epithelium response and the use of the EOG and arden ratio in depression
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Supersensitivity to light in depression has been observed with both neuroendocrine and ophthalmological assessment methods. The biological defect underlying this abnormality may be localized in either the photoreceptors, the retinal pigmented epithelium, or some interaction of the two. The present study assessed responses of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). All subjects underwent thorough ophthalmological and mood assessments. The electrooculogram (EOG) was used to measure standing potentials of the RPE in response to light and dark in 20 normal controls and 20 unmedicated depressed patients. Both groups were matched for age, sex, time of day for the procedure, and prior lighting history. Reproducibility of the EOG measure on two independent occasions for 13 control subjects had an intrasubject reliability coefficient of 0.70. The mean +/- SD Arden Ratio (light peak/dark trough) of the control group (2.13 +/- 0.42) compared to the depressed group (2.28 +/- 0.72) showed no statistical difference. There was, however, a significant difference between groups in response to darkness; depressed patients had a lower standing potential in the dark compared to controls, suggesting supersensitivity to light. No difference between groups was detected in standing potentials at baseline or in response to light. Supersensitivity to light in depression may be related to abnormal function of the RPE, but the inherent reliability of the EOG precludes the use of this instrument in pursuing this hypothesis.
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