BACKGROUND: Multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) has the power to discriminate between localized functional losses and overall retinal changes when evaluating retinal injury. So far, full-field ERG has been the gold standard for examining retinal ischemia and the effects of different neuroprotectants in experimental conditions. The aim of the present study was to establish mfERG, with simultaneous fundus monitoring, for analyzing the localized functional response in the retina after ischemia-reperfusion in the porcine eye. METHODS: 70 kg pigs underwent pressure-induced retinal ischemia (1 hour) followed by reperfusion. mfERG recordings were obtained before and after ischemia, followed by 1 and 5 hours of reperfusion. Individual components of the summed mfERG responses were correlated to ischemia and the time of reperfusion. RESULTS: The visual streak area had significantly higher amplitudes than the optic nerve head and the area in between, suggesting that the mfERG monitors localized functional retinal responses. The mfERG recordings were altered following ischemia-reperfusion. In one group of animals, there was a complete flattening of the mfERG waveforms, indicating complete ischemic injury. In the other group of animals, ischemia-reperfusion altered the mfERG such that the implicit time was increased (20.82 +/- 0.18 before ischemia and 21.57 +/- 0.21 after ischemia and 1 hour of reperfusion, in the visual streak area, p < 0.05) and the amplitude was decreased (13.16 +/- 2.3 before ischemia and 11.47 +/- 0.88 after ischemia and 1 hour of reperfusion, in the visual streak area, p < 0.001), suggesting partial ischemic injury. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the porcine model of pressure-induced retinal ischemia-reperfusion results in mfERG changes, typical for retinal ischemia. mfERG may be a useful tool for evaluating and monitoring localized cone dysfunction after an ischemic injury.