A study was made with intra-operative flash--visual evoked potentials (VEP) monitored using a fibre-optic/contact lens photo stimulator in 57 patients undergoing intra-orbital surgical procedures with potential risk to the optic nerve. The VEPs recorded under enflurane and nitrous oxide anaesthesia did not differ significantly in latency or amplitude from the pre-operative recordings. Transient abolition of the VEP was seen under many circumstances and did not correlate with the outcome of surgery, but absence of a previously normal VEP for more than four minutes during surgical manipulation within the orbit did show a correlation with post operative impairment of vision. The technique provides early warning to the surgeon of threats to the integrity of the optic nerve.
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