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Updated June 02, 2014

Ophthalmologist giving eye exam
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Definition: When a physician or nurse is examining a patient's eyes, PERRLA is an acronym used to describe the look and function of the eyes. It stands for:
  • Pupils
  • Equal
  • Round
  • Reactive to
  • Light and
  • Accommodation (which means the ability of the eyes to focus on objects that are close up and faraway)
An eye exam is done to check how someone's nervous system is functioning, especially after a head injury or during serious illness. An eye exam would be abnormal if the pupils are:
  • not of equal size
  • not round (misshapen)
  • don't change when a light is shined on them (should get smaller)
  • don't change when looking at something close or faraway
Common Misspellings: PERLA, perla
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