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J Refract Surg. 2011 Mar;27(3):202-7. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20100511-01. Epub 2010 May 17.

Dark-adapted pupil diameter as a function of age measured with the NeurOptics pupillometer.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA.



To measure the dark-adapted pupil diameter of normal research participants in their second through ninth decades of life using the NeurOptics pupillometer (Neuroptics Inc).


Individuals aged 18 to 80 years with no history of eye disease or injury, intraocular surgery, or use of systemic antihistamines or opiates were recruited. After 2 minutes of adaptation at 1 lux illumination, the right dark-adapted pupil diameter was measured using the NeurOptics pupillometer, with accommodation controlled by distance fixation. The NeurOptics pupillometer reported a mean dark-adapted pupil diameter and a standard deviation of the mean, which were analyzed as a function of age-decade.


Two-hundred sixty-three individuals participated. For participants aged 18 to 19 years (n=6), the mean dark-adapted pupil diameter was 6.85 mm (range: 5.6 to 7.5 mm); 20 to 29 years (n=66), 7.33 mm (range: 5.7 to 8.8 mm); 30 to 39 years (n=50), 6.64 mm (range: 5.3 to 8.7 mm); 40 to 49 years (n=51), 6.15 mm (range: 4.5 to 8.2 mm); 50 to 59 years (n=50), 5.77 mm (range: 4.4 to 7.2 mm); 60 to 69 years (n=30), 5.58 mm (range: 3.5 to 7.5 mm); 70 to 79 years (n=6), 5.17 mm (range: 4.6 to 6.0 mm); and 80 years (n=4), 4.85 mm (range: 4.1 to 5.3 mm). These values were consistent with studies using infrared photography. The standard deviation was >0.1 mm in 10 (3.8%) participants, all of whom were younger than 55 years.


The dark-adapted pupil diameter is an important clinical variable when planning refractive surgery. Surgeons can compare a patient's dark-adapted pupil diameter with the results of this population study to identify outlier measurements, which may be erroneous, and repeat testing prior to surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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