An investigation into the relationship between pupil and accommodation responses during near vision

  • Nicholas J. Phillips

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A Hamamatsu Video Area Analyser has been coupled with a modified Canon IR automatic optometer. This has allowed simultaneous recording of pupil diameter and accommodation response to be made both statically and continuously, a feature not common in previous studies. Experimental work concerned pupil and accommodation responses during near vision tasks under a variety of conditions.
The effects of sustained near vision tasks on accommodation have usually been demonstrated by taking post-task measures under darkroom conditions. The possibility of similar effects on pupil diameter was assessed using static and continuous recordings following a near vision task. Results showed that is luminance levels remained unchanged by using a pre-and post-task bright-empty field then, although accommodation regressed to pre-task levels,pupil diameter remained for several minutes at the contstricted level induced by the task.
An investigation into the effect of a sinusoidally-modulated blur-only accommodative stimulus on pupil response demonstrated that response may be reduced or absent despite robust accommodation responses. This suggests that blur-driven acommodation alone may not be sufficient to produce a pupil near response and that the presence of other cues may be necessary.
Pupil response was investigated using a looming stimulus which produced an inferred-proximity cue. It was found that a pupil response could be induced which was in synchrony with the stimulus while closed-loop accommodation response was kept constant by the constraints of optical blur.
The pupil diameter of young and elderly subjects undertaking a 5 minute reading task was measured to assess the contribution of pupil constriction to near vision function in terms of depth-of-focus. Results showed that in the young subjects pupil diameter was too large to have a significant effect on depth-of-focus although it may be increased in the elderly subjects.
Pupil and accommodation reponses to a temporally-modulated stimulus
containing all cues present in a normal visual environment was assessed and
results showed that as stimulus temporal frequency increased, pupil response
showed increasing phase lag relative to closed-loop accommodation.
The results of this study suggest that it may be necessary to change the accepted view of the function of pupil response as part of the near vision triad and that
further study would be of benefit in particular to designers of vision aids such as,
for example, bifocal contact lenses.
Date of AwardFeb 1993
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard Gilmartin (Supervisor)


  • pupil
  • accommodation
  • near vision
  • pupillometer
  • optometer

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