Pupillographic sleepiness testing in hypersomniacs and normals


· Background: Pupillary oscillations in darkness are considered to be a sign of sleepiness. The purpose of this pilot study was to ascertain whether pupillary oscillations were more pronounced in patients with hypersomnia than in normals. · Methods: Seven patients (four with sleep apnea syndrome, three with narcolepsy) and seven age-matched controls underwent pupillography for 11 min in complete darkness. The changes in pupil size were analyzed mathematically to determine quantitatively the amount of pupillary instability. · Results: Hypersomniacs had much higher amounts of pupillary oscillations in darkness than normals. The differences were significant. Baseline pupil size did not differ significantly between the two groups. · Conclusion: This study showed that a pupillographic sleepiness test based on the evaluation of spontaneous pupillary changes in darkness is applicable in hypersomniacs and may facilitate therapy control, i.e. diagnostic grading by measuring daytime sleepiness objectively.

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Received: 12 December 1997 Revised version received: 4 February 1998 Accepted: 5 February 1998

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Wilhelm, H., Lüdtke, H. & Wilhelm, B. Pupillographic sleepiness testing in hypersomniacs and normals. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 236, 725–729 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004170050149

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  • Pilot Study
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Narcolepsy
  • Pupil Size