Brisk vs Sluggish pupillary response

  1. 0
    Hi guys...simple question here but I really can't find the answer.

    Can someone define exactly what the difference between brisk pupillary response to light vs. sluggish. Is it more subjective?

    Thanks for your help!

    Sarah

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  2. 5 Comments...

  3. 0
    Subjective means the person (pt) is describing it. If something is subjective, you personally are feeling it. Objective is what you are actually seeing. When you assess pupils, the light should elicit a quick (brisk) response by shrinking. Sluggish reaction is just what it sounds like... Slow to react. Fixed pupils shows no reaction= no bueno. Be sure to look up what pupillary response actually means in the brain, it's fascinating! (Neuro nurse here, kind of biased!)
  4. 0
    Sorry, I don't have an answer to your question, but I get what you mean about it being subjective. Kind of like rating edema--one nurse may say it's +1 and another will think it's +2. I am a new nurse and have found assessing pupils to be more difficult than one would think, but the more pupils you look at, the easier it gets.
  5. 0
    Quote from all517
    Subjective means the person (pt) is describing it. If something is subjective, you personally are feeling it. Objective is what you are actually seeing. When you assess pupils, the light should elicit a quick (brisk) response by shrinking. Sluggish reaction is just what it sounds like... Slow to react. Fixed pupils shows no reaction= no bueno. Be sure to look up what pupillary response actually means in the brain, it's fascinating! (Neuro nurse here, kind of biased!)
    ^^^ this is perfect. As a St. John volunteer, this is something I have to deal with when doing neuro obs and I always check twice to make sure as well as get a second opinion.
  6. 0
    It is objective... you (the RN) are assessing it and making a judgement by what you (the RN) sees. Those are specifics... what you really need to know is if there is a change and is it abnormal :-)
  7. 0
    Great question! Sometimes the seemingly easiest things are the hardest to assess.

    I find assessments of pupil reaction and grade of edema vary greatly between practitioners and is a little frustrating to see that not everyone assessing knows what the scales mean.

    For pupils, I realized that with the bright lighting of an ICU, pupils were often marked as sluggish when in reality it just wasn't a good assessment. I turn the overhead light off while I'm auscultating and then shine my light on the pupils once they've had a chance to adjust to the dim lighting. You will really see a good response then.

    Sluggish is really slow. The word itself describes it best. Like molasses.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com


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