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P H Heller, F Perry, D L Jewett, J D Levine; Autonomic components of the human pupillary light reflex.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1990;31(1):156-162.
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To investigate the autonomic components of the pupillary light reflex in humans, we used infrared pupillometry combined with a partial local cholinergic (tropicamide) or alpha-adrenergic (thymoxamine) blockade. The pupillary response curve was analyzed using parameters identical or similar to those employed previously to study the autonomic components of the pupillary light reflex. Tropicamide increased baseline pupil area and affected five of the eight measured parameters. Thymoxamine lowered baseline pupil area but did not affect any of the parameters. We found the expected cholinergic contribution to the constrictive phase of the pupillary light reflex but no evidence for peripheral alpha-adrenergic activity during redilation. We propose that redilation primarily involves parasympathetic relaxation, modulated by cholinergic inhibition of the dilator muscle and central sympathetic inhibition of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus.
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