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Pupillary light response after cataract surgery in healthy patients



To examine the changes in the pupillary light response after phacoemulsification and to compare the difference in the response among patients in different age categories.

Study design

Prospective observational study.


Four-hundred twenty-two eyes of 422 patients in 3 age categories (60-69 years, 70-79 years, and 80-89 years) scheduled for phacoemulsification were consecutively enrolled. The eyes underwent examinations with an infrared pupillometer to obtain the parameters of the pupillary light response preoperatively and at 1 day and 1 and 3 months postoperatively. Differences in the parameters of the pupillary response were compared among 4 time intervals and the 3 age categories.


The mean maximum and minimum pupillary diameters significantly decreased at 1 day postoperatively and returned to the preoperative level by 1 month postoperatively (P<.0001). The mean percentage of pupillary constriction was significantly reduced at 1 and 3 months postoperatively compared with preoperatively and at 1 day postoperatively (P<.0001). The average pupillary constriction and dilation velocities were significantly lower at 1 and 3 months postoperatively than they were preoperatively and at 1 day postoperatively (P<.0001). The latency to constriction did not differ significantly among the time intervals. The percentage of pupillary constriction was significantly smaller, and the average constriction and dilation velocities were lower in association with higher age categories at all time intervals (P≤.0185).


The pupillary light response was impaired several months after cataract surgery and worsened with increasing patient age, indicating that cataract surgery may compromise the pupillary constriction and dilation functions in association with age.

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The authors thank Koji Yonemoto, PhD (Ryukyu University, Naha, Japan), for statistical assistance.



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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ken Hayashi.

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K. Hayashi, None; M. Yoshida, None; S. Ishiyama, None; A. Hirata, None.

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Corresponding Author: Ken Hayashi.

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Hayashi, K., Yoshida, M., Ishiyama, S. et al. Pupillary light response after cataract surgery in healthy patients. Jpn J Ophthalmol 65, 616–623 (2021).

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  • Pupillary light response
  • Pupillary diameter
  • Cataract surgery
  • Age