Patients with congenital achromatopsia and congenital stationary night blindness have been known to show a transient pupillary constriction to darkness. We examined 50 normal subjects and 108 patients with retinal and optic nerve dysfunction to see if any had an initial pupillary constriction to darkness. We used a new infrared television apparatus. Four patients with congenital stationary night blindness, four with achromatopsia, two with bilateral optic neuritis, and one with dominant optic atrophy showed the phenomenon. In the patients who showed this unusual pupillary response to darkness it was the first observable event every time the lights were turned off. The constriction could usually be seen with a handlight, and it was similar in latency to the normal pupillary dilatation to darkness. Pupillary constriction to darkness is a clinically valuable sign that can be used in the detection of congenital retinal disease in children with poor vision.
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