Ultrasound Examination of the Pupil - A New Tool for the Neuro-Ophthalmological Assessment

Filippo Farina, Milan R Vosko, Claudio Baracchini, Mario Ermani, Peter Sommer, Stefan Greisenegger, Peter Laubichler, Walter Struhal, Lukas Kellermair, Gerhard Ransmayr, Cornelia Brunner

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND:  Pupil examination represents a diagnostic and prognostic test in the management of several neurological diseases. Infrared video pupillometry (IVP) is the gold standard, since it is not routinely available, a noninvasive bedside ultrasound assessment has been proposed as an alternative. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and reproducibility of ultrasound pupillometry (UP) in comparison with IVP.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:  81 subjects (43 men and 38 women, mean age: 52 ± 20 years and 49 ± 19 years, respectively) with no history of neurophthalmologic disease were enrolled. UP was performed with a 12-MHz linear probe according to current guidelines for orbital insonation. Light and painful stimuli were applied to test pupillary light reflex (PLR) and ciliospinal reflex (CR). In 30 of these subjects IVP examination was performed additionally to obtain intra-observer and inter-observer agreement.

RESULTS:  Increasing age was associated with a decreased pupillary diameter (PD) at rest, after PLR and CR (R -0.728, p < 0.01, R -0.643, p < 0.01, R 0.674, p < 0.001 respectively), while no association was noticed with time to constriction/dilation. UP measurements were reproducible (rate of inter- and intra-observer agreement: R 0.979, p < 0.01, R 0.946, p < 0.01 respectively) and concordant with IVP (PLR R 0.831, p < 0.01; CR R 0.879, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION:  According to our study, ultrasound pupillometry is a feasible and reliable technique for bedside pupillary function assessment, and is a good alternative to infrared video pupillometry. Moreover, it represents the only way for functional pupillary assessment in patients with periorbital hematoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalUltraschall in der Medizin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pupil
  • Reflex, Pupillary
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography


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