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

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Reasons for Test    TOP

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.

Possible Complications    TOP

There are no major complications associated with this procedure.

What to Expect    TOP

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.

After Test    TOP

You will be able to leave after the test is done.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

About 45 minutes

Will It Hurt?    TOP


Results    TOP

Your doctor will discuss the results with you and any further treatment that may be needed.

Call Your Doctor    TOP

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:
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Accessed May 26, 2015.
Evoked potentials studies. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
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Accessed May 26, 2015.
Visually evoked potentials. Webvision website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 26, 2015.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Eric Berman, MD
Last Updated: 5/26/2015

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