Patterns of pupillary activity during binocular disparity resolution

Carey D. Balaban, Alex Kiderman, Mikhaylo Szczupak, Robin C. Ashmore, Michael E. Hoffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study examined the dynamic coordination between disconjugate, vergence eye movements, and pupil size in 52 normal subjects during binocular disparity stimulation in a virtual reality display. Eye movements and pupil area were sampled with a video-oculographic system at 100 Hz during performance of two tasks, (1) fusion of a binocular disparity step (±1.5° of visual angle in the horizontal plane) and (2) pursuit of a sinusoidally varying binocular disparity stimulus (0.1 Hz, ±2.6° of visual angle in the horizontal plane). Pupil size data were normalized on the basis of responses to homogeneous illumination increments ranging from 0.42 to 65.4 cd/m2. The subjects produced robust vergence eye movements in response to disparity step shifts and high fidelity sinusoidal vergence responses (R2 relative to stimulus profile: 0.933 ± 0.088), accompanied by changes in pupil area. Trajectory plots of pupil area as a function of vergence angle showed that the pupil area at zero vergence is altered between epochs of linear vergence angle-pupil area relations. Analysis with a modified Gath-Geva clustering algorithm revealed that the dynamic relationship between the ocular vergence angle and pupil size includes two different transient, synkinetic response patterns. The near response pattern, pupil constriction during convergence and pupil dilation during divergence, occurred ~80% of the time across subjects. An opposite, previously undescribed synkinetic pattern was pupil constriction during divergence and pupil dilatation during convergence; it occurred ~15% of the time across subjects. The remainder of the data were epochs of uncorrelated activity. The pupil size intercepts of the synkinetic segments, representing pupil size at initial tropia, had different relationships to vergence angle for the two main coordinated movement types. Hippus-like movements of the pupil could also be accompanied by vergence movements. No pupil coordination was observed during a conjugate pursuit task. In terms of the current dual interaction control model (1), findings suggest that the synkinetic eye and pupillary movements are produced by a dynamic switch of the influence of vergence related information to pupil control, accompanied by a resetting of the pupil aperture size at zero-vergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number990
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - Nov 26 2018


  • Convergent eye movements
  • Human
  • Pupil responses
  • Synkinesias
  • Virtual environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Patterns of pupillary activity during binocular disparity resolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this