Previously, it has been shown that in healthy persons the function of the eye assessed by visual evoked cortical potential (VECP) amplitudes changes in a characteristic way during stepwise artificial elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP). It has been demonstrated that a stepwise increase in IOP leads to a decrease in the amplitude followed by an increase or a stabilization of the function during a further rise of IOP. At pressure values of 62 mml·Hg, the amplitude falls to the noise level. In order to examine whether this behaviour can also be observed if the procedure is reversed, we initially increased the IOP to values, at which the VECP amplitudes could not be distinguished from noise (standstill pressure). During a subsequent stepwise decrease in the artificially increased IOP, we investigated 5 persons. The function did not recover before the IOP had reached values below 46 mml·lg. Thus, at the same IOP value, the VECP can assume different amplitude values depending on wether the pressure rises or falls. In 24 further persons, the artificial IOP increase was decreased directly to the starting values. The function recovered immediately. Factors influencing the eye shape (e.g. astigmatism), as ascribed at artificially increased IOP, cannot explain the different behaviour of VECP amplitudes in the experiments done here, because mechanical changes are the same in IOP increase and its reverse. But the behaviour observed here is not contradictory and can be explained by the known characteristics of microcirculation. The short increase in IOP causes at least a particular intraocular standstill of blood circulation and maybe of axoplasmic flow, which affects especially its weakest part – the optic nerve head. Afterwards a high-pressure gradient increase is required to bring back blood fluidity and also VECP amplitudes as a sign of function.

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