Visual Brain Waves

Visual Evoked Potential

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The visual evoked potential or VEP measures visual brain waves. We use this information to help us understand how well the eye is sending its signals to the main visual portion of the brain. It is a very useful technology that determines how your eye communicates to your brain in a way that no other instrument, computer or test can. This is crucial in determining if vision is developing normally, and in helping to determine what is wrong when there is visual difficulty. Here are some common questions and answers about the VEP.

Q: What is the VEP procedure used for?

A: The VEP is used primarily to determine how well each eye sends its signals through the optic nerve to the rest of the brain. This is important information in amblyopia, strabismus, and suspected neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. It is uniquely valuable for infants and toddlers, and any patients who have difficulty with verbal communication.

Q: How is the VEP recorded?

A: The VEP is the visual form of the EEG (electroencephalogram), and is recorded with three electrodes that are briefly pasted to the front, middle and back of the head. It is non-invasive and very safe.

Q: How much time does the VEP take?

Pediatric VEP

A: About 40 minutes total, though obtaining the recordings once we're ready is a matter of only 10 or 20 seconds of looking at a checkerboard pattern on a screen for each recording.

Q: What if my child can't pay attention?

A: Sometimes an assistant will tap the screen or flash finger puppets. There is a version of the VEP that we use to help evaluate infants that interposes cartoon figures and songs. Features of the VEP may even give us objective information about visual attention.

Q: Is there any special preparation needed?

A: It helps to get a good night's sleep before, and to shampoo the hair before coming in. We clean a few areas of the scalp carefully before applying the electrodes with some paste, so the scalp is a little sticky when we're done.

Q: What is the fee the VEP, and does insurance pay for it?

A: The fee is $450 and includes preparation for recording, the procedure itself, analysis of the results, and a printout of the results. The patient pays our office directly and we submit the procedure to your medical carrier for you to be reimbursed. Many carriers do reimburse for this procedure.

For additional information, email PressVision or call us at

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