Pupillary and visual thresholds in young children as an index of population vitamin A status

Nathan Congdon, Alfred Sommer, Matthew Severns, Jean Humphrey, David Friedman, Liliana Clement, Lee Shu Fune Wu, Gantira Natadisastra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A prototype scotopic sensitivity machine was used to evaluate pupillary and visual thresholds for 295 Indonesian children aged 1-5 y, most of whom were initially vitamin A-deficient. Subjects were tested 6 and 9 mo after receiving a high dose of vitamin A. A group of 136 older children was tested at 6 mo after dosing; all subjects underwent testing at 9 mo. After testing at 9 mo, children randomly received either a second high dose of vitamin A or placebo and were tested a final time 2 wk later. Children with abnormal pupillary thresholds had significantly higher relative dose responses (RDRs) (P < 0.01) and significantly lower serum retinol values (P = 0.05) than did normal children. The mean pupillary threshold rose (eg, retinal sensitivity fell) as vitamin A status deteriorated between 6 and 9 mo after initial dosing, and was significantly different from a group of normal American children tested previously (P < 0.001). After placebo-controlled dosing, the decline in pupillary and visual thresholds (rise in retinal sensitivity) was significant for children receiving vitamin A but not for children receiving placebo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1082
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995


  • Scotopic sensitivity
  • assessment
  • dark adaptation
  • population
  • pupillary reflex
  • survey
  • visual threshold
  • vitamin A deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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