The interaction of pupil response with the vergence system

  • Moritz Feil
  • Barbara Moser
  • Mathias AbeggEmail author



A gaze shift from a target at distance to a target at near leads to pupillary constriction. The regulation of this pupillary near response is ill known. We investigated the impact of accommodation, convergence, and proximity on the pupillary diameter.


We recorded pupil size and vergence eye movements with the use of an infrared eye tracker. We determined the pupillary response in four conditions: (1) after a gaze shift from far to near without accommodation, (2) after a gaze shift from far to near with neither accommodation nor convergence, (3) after accommodation alone, and (4) after accommodation with convergence without a gaze shift to near. These responses were compared to the pupil response of a full near response and to a gaze shift from one far target to another.


We found a reliable pupillary near response. The removal of both accommodation and convergence in gaze shift from far to near abolished the pupillary near response. Accommodation alone did not induce pupillary constriction, while convergence and accommodation together induced a pupil response similar to the full near response.


The main trigger for the pupillary response seems to be convergence. Neither accommodation nor proximity alone induce a significant pupillary constriction. This suggests that the miosis of the near triad is closely coupled to the vergence system rather than being independently regulated.


Pupil Accommodation Convergence Near triad 



MA was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (320030-147023).

Compliance with ethical standards


The Swiss National Science Foundation provided financial support to MA (Funding Number 320030-147023). The sponsor had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. The study was approved by the local ethics committee.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Inselspital, Bern University HospitalUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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