PURPOSE. To identify and characterize the early alterations of the ERG oscillatory potentials (OPs) under conditions of poor glycemic control associated with diabetes in an animal model. To characterize and correlate the a- and b-wave properties of the ERGs of diabetic animals in parallel with the changes in oscillatory potentials. METHODS. Blood sugars, weights, and ERGs were measured for a group of rats each week for 3 weeks to obtain baseline information. A single injection of streptozotocin was given to the experimental animals. Weights, blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, and detailed ERGs were recorded weekly for up. to 12 weeks in control and experimental animals. RESULTS. OP kinetics were found to be inherently related to amplitude. Amplitude-matched OPs were delayed in diabetic animals when compared with baseline data from the same animal. The kinetics of OPs in control animals stayed the same or were slightly accelerated relative to their baseline values. For a given recording condition, OP kinetics were very stable over time and this stability was not disturbed in diabetic animals. Diabetic animals showed a small but significant delay in the a-wave, but no change in b-wave timing. The sensitivity of the b-wave was reduced twofold, but that of the a-wave was not changed. CONCLUSIONS. OPs have been used to evaluate retinal function in both diabetic models and patients. The comparison of amplitude-matched OPs is a robust determinant of changes in kinetics. Researchers and clinicians who use OPs may wish to consider the relationship between OP amplitude and kinetics to avoid confounding assessments of abnormalities. The amplitude versus kinetics relationship does not change form in diabetic animals; it is merely shifted (delayed) on the time axis.