We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Pupillometer?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pupillometer is a device that measures the reactivity of the eyes' pupils. The pupillometer can be a large machine, connected to a wall, with a chair that allows one to sit and go through about 10 minutes of testing to evaluate the pupil’s reactivity to light. Handheld pupillometers are often used in preliminary examinations of patients who are suspected of being under narcotic influence, or for those who have sustained a significant head injury.

The pupillometer is used in many different applications. Those who are being examined for Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, may all show significant difference in pupil size or reactivity. In these cases the pupillometer can be an important diagnostic device that can show signs of such illnesses. In other cases, the pupillometer might be used to assess degeneration of eye tissue in people with severe diabetes.

Pupillometer examinations are frequently conducted on those undergoing physical exams to become firemen, emergency workers, or policemen. The reactions of the pupil can, of course, suggest the use of narcotics, especially when the pupil remains less reactive and small. The pupillometer may also suggest early symptoms of progressive joint or tissue disorders, which would disqualify one to serve as an emergency or law enforcement worker.

Law enforcement officials and doctors often use hand pupillometers to assess those behaving as if they are under the influence. Since viewing the eye is non-invasive, it can be a helpful and safe tool for assessing someone who may have taken narcotics. When an overdose of narcotics is suspected, doctors can then evaluate the pupils for signs of constriction, and treat patients according. This use of the pupillometer is safer than methods that involve potential contact with bodily fluids, such as in urine and blood tests.

Perhaps one of the most interesting applications of the pupillometer is its use in the study of people with sleep difficulties. Those who are exhausted, or who suffer from narcolepsy frequently have either small, nonreactive pupils in the dark, or overly reactive pupils. These studies are still in preliminary stages but may prove helpful in determining whether treatments for sleep disorders are effective. Theoretically, those who are being treated for sleep disorders would gradually show more normal pupil reactions during pupillometer examinations. Failure to improve would be a sign that treatments were not effective.

One criticism of this current application is that pupil fluctuations are graphed and interpreted, and a graph may be subject to several interpretations. That makes this new study somewhat less scientifically correct, though the experiment may still be helpful in addressing sleep disorders at a future date.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.