1. Both high- and low-intensity transcutaneous electrical stimuli were applied to the emergence of the infratrochlear nerve in 18 healthy subjects. The effect on the size of the homolateral pupil was investigated. The width of the pupil was also measured when high-intensity transcutaneous electrical stimulation was applied to the contralateral side.
2. The high-intensity pulse resulted in constriction of the pupil when the stimulation was homolateral. The miosis was slow in onset (120 s latency) and long-lasting (80 s). No pupillary changes were detected after either ipsilateral low-intensity or contralateral high-intensity stimuli.
3. In 11 healthy subjects, the pupillary response to transcutaneous electrical stimulation was evaluated during iris parasympathetic blockade induced by homatropine eyedrops. The disappearance of the light reflex due to homatropine was considered an index of the parasympathetic blockade. Afterwards, a high-intensity pulse was transcutaneously delivered to the emergence of the infratrochlear nerve and the ipsilateral pupil size was measured.
4. A reduction in the pupillary size followed the electrical stimulation, still under the effect of homatropine which abolished the light reflex. The time course of this pupillary constriction was similar to that seen without the influence of homatropine.
5. The findings suggest that homolateral miosis, observed after unilateral high-intensity stimulation of the infratrochlear nerve, does not stem from cholinergic activation. It has been suggested that miosis induced by transcutaneous electrical stimulation may be due to an antidromic activation of the iris sensory fibres.