The effect of topical anesthesia on the rat electroretinogram

Shai Sandalon, Ron Ofri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Topical anesthetics are recommended when electroretinograms (ERGs) are recorded using contact lens electrodes. However, these drugs act by blocking voltage-gated Na+ channels. Since such channels have been located in both the inner and outer retina of many species, topical anesthesia could affect the ERG recordings in these subjects. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of oxybuprocaine, a commonly used ester local anesthetic, on the rat ERG. Full-field scotopic and pattern ERGs (PERGs) were recorded successively from both eyes of seven rats. One eye was randomly treated with oxybuprocaine 15 min prior to recording. In 10 rats unilateral full-field photopic ERG recordings were conducted prior to, and 15 min after, treatment. B-wave amplitude ratios of the experimental/control eyes were 1.13, 1.30, and 1.35 for the three intensities used to record scotopic ERG responses, and 1.04 for the photopic ERG responses. PERG amplitude ratios of the experimental/control eyes were 1.10, 1.21, 1.21, 1.24, and 1.26 for the five patterns used. Treatment had no significant negative effect on signal amplitude or implicit time of the full-field ERG or PERG. In fact, amplitudes of signals from treated eyes tended to be (insignificantly) higher, though this might reflect better position of the active electrode rather than a biological effect. We conclude that oxybuprocaine has no negative effect on the rat ERG.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalDocumenta Ophthalmologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was funded by the Joseph Alexander Foundation and the Alberto Moscona Foundation.


  • Action potential
  • Full-field ERG
  • Oxybuprocaine
  • Pattern ERG
  • Voltage-gated sodium channel


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