Abstract

The present study investigates the use of the afferent pupillary reflex as an objective index of a subject’s ability to detect a dim flash. The results support the general notion that the pupil responds to flashes near the absolute threshold for vision. In contrast to several previous studies, however, our results document that minute pupillary constrictions occur in response to small diameter (i.e., 3.5° and 1.2°) stimuli. These pupillary constrictions occur mostly on the trials when the subject also reported seeing the flash and little evidence of a response is found on the trials when the flashes were not detected. We infer that the sensitivity of the perceptual and pupillomotor pathways are very similar for the scotopic conditions tested.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. F. A. Abraham, M. Alpern, “Factors Influencing Threshold of the Fundamental Electrical Response to Sinusoidal Excitation of Human Photoreceptors,” J. Physiol. 357, 151 (1984).
    [PubMed]
  2. E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
    [CrossRef]
  3. N. M. J. Schweitzer, “Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Pupil in the Dark Adapted Eye,” Doc. Ophthalmol. 10, 1 (1955).
  4. M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. D. W. Burke, K. N. Ogle, “Comparison of Visual and Pupillary Light Thresholds in Periphery,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 71, 400 (1964).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. G. Hakerem, S. Sutton, “Pupillary Response at Visual Threshold,” Nature London 212, 485 (1966).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. N. M. J. Schweitzer, M. A. Bouman, “Differential Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Human Pupil,” AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. 59, 541 (1958).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. R. S. L. Young, M. Alpern, “Pupil Responses to Foveal Exchange of Monochromatic Lights,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 70, 697 (1980).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J. G. Webster, G.H. Cohen, R. M. Boynton, “Optimizing the Use of the Criterion Response for the Pupil Light Reflex,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 58, 419 (1968).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. C. J. K. Ellis, “The Pupillary Light Reflex in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 65, 754 (1981).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]

1984 (1)

F. A. Abraham, M. Alpern, “Factors Influencing Threshold of the Fundamental Electrical Response to Sinusoidal Excitation of Human Photoreceptors,” J. Physiol. 357, 151 (1984).
[PubMed]

1981 (1)

C. J. K. Ellis, “The Pupillary Light Reflex in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 65, 754 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1980 (1)

1979 (1)

S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1978 (1)

E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
[CrossRef]

1968 (1)

1966 (1)

G. Hakerem, S. Sutton, “Pupillary Response at Visual Threshold,” Nature London 212, 485 (1966).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1964 (1)

D. W. Burke, K. N. Ogle, “Comparison of Visual and Pupillary Light Thresholds in Periphery,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 71, 400 (1964).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1963 (1)

M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1958 (1)

N. M. J. Schweitzer, M. A. Bouman, “Differential Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Human Pupil,” AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. 59, 541 (1958).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1955 (1)

N. M. J. Schweitzer, “Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Pupil in the Dark Adapted Eye,” Doc. Ophthalmol. 10, 1 (1955).

Abraham, F. A.

F. A. Abraham, M. Alpern, “Factors Influencing Threshold of the Fundamental Electrical Response to Sinusoidal Excitation of Human Photoreceptors,” J. Physiol. 357, 151 (1984).
[PubMed]

Adachi-Usami, E.

E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
[CrossRef]

Alpern, M.

F. A. Abraham, M. Alpern, “Factors Influencing Threshold of the Fundamental Electrical Response to Sinusoidal Excitation of Human Photoreceptors,” J. Physiol. 357, 151 (1984).
[PubMed]

R. S. L. Young, M. Alpern, “Pupil Responses to Foveal Exchange of Monochromatic Lights,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 70, 697 (1980).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Barr, L.

M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Bouman, M. A.

N. M. J. Schweitzer, M. A. Bouman, “Differential Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Human Pupil,” AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. 59, 541 (1958).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Boynton, R. M.

Burke, D. W.

D. W. Burke, K. N. Ogle, “Comparison of Visual and Pupillary Light Thresholds in Periphery,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 71, 400 (1964).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cohen, G.H.

Ellis, C. J. K.

C. J. K. Ellis, “The Pupillary Light Reflex in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 65, 754 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Hakerem, G.

G. Hakerem, S. Sutton, “Pupillary Response at Visual Threshold,” Nature London 212, 485 (1966).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Kanayama, N.

E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
[CrossRef]

McCready, D. W.

M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Misago, M.

E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
[CrossRef]

Ogle, K. N.

D. W. Burke, K. N. Ogle, “Comparison of Visual and Pupillary Light Thresholds in Periphery,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 71, 400 (1964).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Schweitzer, N. M. J.

N. M. J. Schweitzer, M. A. Bouman, “Differential Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Human Pupil,” AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. 59, 541 (1958).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

N. M. J. Schweitzer, “Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Pupil in the Dark Adapted Eye,” Doc. Ophthalmol. 10, 1 (1955).

Smith, S. A.

S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Smith, S. E.

S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Sutton, S.

G. Hakerem, S. Sutton, “Pupillary Response at Visual Threshold,” Nature London 212, 485 (1966).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Webster, J. G.

Young, R. S. L.

AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. (1)

N. M. J. Schweitzer, M. A. Bouman, “Differential Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Human Pupil,” AMA Arch. Ophthalmol. 59, 541 (1958).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Arch. Ophthalmol. (1)

D. W. Burke, K. N. Ogle, “Comparison of Visual and Pupillary Light Thresholds in Periphery,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 71, 400 (1964).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Br. J. Ophthalmol. (2)

S. A. Smith, C. J. K. Ellis, S. E. Smith, “Inequality of the Direct and Consensual Light Reflexes in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 63, 523 (1979).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

C. J. K. Ellis, “The Pupillary Light Reflex in Normal Subjects,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 65, 754 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Doc. Ophthalmol. (1)

N. M. J. Schweitzer, “Threshold Measurements on the Light Reflex of the Pupil in the Dark Adapted Eye,” Doc. Ophthalmol. 10, 1 (1955).

Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. (1)

E. Adachi-Usami, M. Misago, N. Kanayama, “Electro-Perimetry by Means of the Scotopic VECP,” Doc. Ophthalmol. Proc. Ser. 15, 179 (1978).
[CrossRef]

J. Gen. Physiol. (1)

M. Alpern, D. W. McCready, L. Barr, “The Dependence of the Photopupil Response on Flash Duration and Intensity,” J. Gen. Physiol. 47, 265 (1963).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (2)

J. Physiol. (1)

F. A. Abraham, M. Alpern, “Factors Influencing Threshold of the Fundamental Electrical Response to Sinusoidal Excitation of Human Photoreceptors,” J. Physiol. 357, 151 (1984).
[PubMed]

Nature London (1)

G. Hakerem, S. Sutton, “Pupillary Response at Visual Threshold,” Nature London 212, 485 (1966).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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Figures (3)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Frequency-of-seeing curves (top) and average pupillary responses (bottom) to 3.5° light flashes of varying intensities. The arrows point to the retinal illumination corresponding to 50% detection for each subject. Retinal illumination (log sc td sec) and percent detection are shown to the right of each waveform. Errata: The false alarm rate for subject A is 5% (not 0% as shown below the minus infinity label); for subjects B and C, the rates are correctly shown as 0%.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Average pupillary response waveforms for trials on which subjects reported detecting the flash (yes) and trials on which subjects did not detect the flash (no). Waveforms represent the average of the trials from several flash intensity conditions (see text).

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Frequency-of-seeing curves (top) and average pupillary responses (bottom) to 1.2° light flashes of varying intensities. The arrows point to the retinal illumination corresponding to 50% detection for each subject. Retinal illumination (log sc td sec) and percent detection are shown to the right of each waveform. Note that the pupillary responses are even smaller than in Fig. 1 (compare the calibration bars).

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table I Chi-Square Analysis of Judgment of Constriction and Subject Response

Metrics