Visual Evoked Potential Test
A visual evoked potential test (VEP) is used to look for problems in the brain that affect vision. A machine records brain waves related to the nerves that make up the visual pathway.
Optic Nerve and Muscles
Reasons for Test
This test is often used to:
- Diagnose and follow multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Test vision in children and adults who are unable to read eye charts
There are many symptoms that might lead your doctor to order a VEP. You may be having double vision, blurred vision, or loss of part or all of your vision.
There are no major complications associated with this procedure.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
You will be given instructions to prepare for the test, such as:
- Wash your hair. Avoid hair chemicals such as hair sprays and gels.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Bring your corrective eyewear.
Description of Test
Wires will be attached to your scalp with tape. A patch will be placed over one eye. You will watch a screen with your other eye. The process is then repeated with the opposite eye covered.
The wires will be removed from your head.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have any concerns.
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Eye Institute
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Evoked potentials. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/diagnosing-ms/evoked-potentials/index.aspx. Accessed May 26, 2015.
Evoked potentials studies. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/neurological/evoked_potentials_studies_92,P07658/. Accessed May 26, 2015.
Visually evoked potentials. Webvision website. Available at: http://webvision.med.utah.edu/book/electrophysiology/visually-evoked-potentials/. Accessed May 26, 2015.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Eric Berman, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.