Maintaining fixation by children in a virtual reality version of pupil perimetry

  • Brendan Portengen UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University
  • Marnix Naber Utrecht University
  • Demi Jansen Utrecht University
  • Carlijn van den Boomen Utrecht University
  • Saskia Imhof UMC Utrecht
  • Giorgio Porro UMC Utrecht
Keywords: Eye movement, Eye tracking, Saccades, Virtual reality, Pupillometry, Attention


The assessment of visual field sensitivities in young children continues to be a challenge. Children often do not sit still, fail to fixate stimuli for longer durations, and have limited verbal capacity to report visibility. We investigated the use of a head-mounted VR display, gaze-contingent flicker pupil perimetry (gcFPP), and three fixation stimulus conditions to determine best practices for optimal fixation and pupil response quality. A total of twenty children (3-11y) passively fixated a dot, counted the repeated appearance of an animated character, and watched an animated movie in separate trials of 80s each. We presented large flickering patches at different eccentricities and angles in the periphery to evoke pupillary oscillations (20 locations, 4s per location). The results showed that gaze precision and accuracy did not differ significantly across the fixation conditions but pupil amplitudes were strongest for the dot and count task. We recommend the use of the fixation counting task for pupil perimetry because children enjoyed it the most and it achieved strongest pupil responses. The VR set-up appears to be an ideal apparatus for children to allow free range of movement, an engaging visual task, and reliable eye measurements.

Author Biographies

Brendan Portengen, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University
Department of Ophthalmology Experimental Psychology
Marnix Naber, Utrecht University
Experimental Psychology
Demi Jansen, Utrecht University
Experimental Psychology
Carlijn van den Boomen, Utrecht University
Developmental Psychology
Saskia Imhof, UMC Utrecht

Department of Ophthalmology

Giorgio Porro, UMC Utrecht

Department of Ophthalmology

How to Cite
Portengen, B., Naber, M., Jansen, D., van den Boomen, C., Imhof, S., & Porro, G. (2022). Maintaining fixation by children in a virtual reality version of pupil perimetry. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 15(3).
Special thematic issue " Virtual Reality & Eye Tracking"