Effect of intensity of dynamic exercise on pupil diameter in humans

Naoyuki Hayashi*, Nami Someya, Yoshiyuki Fukuba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


To test the hypothesis that pupil diameter, which is innervated by the autonomic nervous system, increases with exercise intensity, we determined pupil diameter during incremental exercise in eight healthy subjects. The subjects performed an incremental ergometer exercise in a room illuminated at 90-100 lx. We continuously measured pupil diameter and heart rate before, during, and after the exercise. Pupil diameter increased significantly with exercise intensity (except at the lowest intensity), peaking at 113±3% (mean±SE) of the diameter during the resting baseline period. The diameter did not differ significantly between the resting baseline and recovery periods. These findings suggest that exercise enlarges pupil diameter and that the magnitude of dilation is related to exercise intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-122
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of physiological anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic nervous activity
  • Exercise intensity
  • Pupil dilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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