The objectives of this study are to see if any visual evoked potential (VEP) differences are present in two forms of occipital epilepsy, childhood epilepsy with occipital paroxysms (CEOP) and symptomatic occipital epilepsy (SOE) with respect to etiology, as CEOP is a benign age- and localization-related idiopathic epilepsy while SOE is a symptomatic form. Nineteen patients with CEOP and 13 patients with SOE were included in the study and P100 potential latency and amplitude values obtained from these patients were compared with the values recorded from normal controls. The amplitude values recorded from the patients with CEOP were significantly high (P = 0.033). P100 potential latency values recorded in patients with SOE were significantly long (P = 0.028). High amplitude VEP responses were mostly attributed to hyperexcitability of the occipital cortical structures whereas prolonged latency P100 responses were attributed to occipital structural changes. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.