Below are the specific changes in eye motion, pupils, or vision that can indicate intoxication or overdose from specific substances. Dilated pupils can indicate that you are taking some prescription medications or that you are high on a recreational or illegal substance. In some instances, mental health issues and brain injuries can also lead to dilated pupils.
Ask your eye doctor if you need to avoid driving until your pupils go back to their normal size. Medication-Assisted Treatments for alcohol use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. 4 ‘mocktail’ recipes for ulcerative colitis Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily. It is not safe for your pupils to be dilated because of illegal, recreational drugs. Light sensitivity is annoying but not too harmful in the short term.
Drug Use’s Effects on the Eyes: What Drugs Cause Dilated Pupils?
Many of the medications listed in the following table interfere with your brain’s chemical messengers, also known as neurotransmitters. Whether it’s caused by external or internal factors, pupil dilation is an involuntary nervous system response. Migraines can occasionally cause benign episodic unilateral mydriasis due to hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system or hypoactivity of the parasympathetic system. Mydriasis can also be a side effect of different medications. While systemic medications cause bilateral mydriasis, direct ocular inoculation with topical medications can cause unilateral mydriasis.
The optic nerve and visual cortex are responsible for interpreting and displaying the image for you to view. Benzodiazepines are short but fast-acting barbiturates that can be used to offset the side effects of withdrawal. In addition, benzodiazepines are often used with alcohol or other substances for their calming effects. Using benzos for their calming effects can make them lethal though.
Dopamine precursors Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders Dopamine precursors, such as Levodopa, help to increase synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Mydriatics mydriasis, iritis, and cyclitis Mydriatics are a class of drugs that cause pupil dilation. Sometimes called eye dilation drops, they’re commonly used during eye exams and surgeries. Stimulants attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are common in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder . They’re the most commonly prescribed treatment for depression.
How long will my pupils be dilated?
High concentrations may cause cycloplegia, and in chronic users, exophthalmos and retraction of the upper eyelid can occur. A case of severe sinusitis following intranasal cocaine abuse was reported, spreading to the orbit and leading to optic neuropathy and orbital apex syndrome. Both legal and don’t drink alcohol while taking these medications illicit narcotic drugs – including heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl – constrict the pupils. If medication is the cause, your doctor may recommend switching to another drug. Your doctor may suggest special contact lenses or sunglasses to reduce light sensitivity from dilated pupils.
- Since most addicts combine different substances for them to cause greater effects, the side effects of using certain substances correlate with one another.
- Parasympathetic fibers travel with cranial nerve III, the oculomotor nerve, to innervate the circular layer of muscle of the eye .
- Promethazine because of anticholinergic property and phenylpropanolamine due to sympathomimetic activity have been reported to cause acute angle-closure glaucoma.
- Non-physiological causes of mydriasis include disease, trauma, or the use of certain types of drugs.
- Some people, especially those with lighter-colored eyes, might take longer than usual for the effects to wear off.
Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Anisocoria is when one pupil is dilated, rather than both. It typically takes a few hours for the dilating drops to wear off, so it may be a good idea to have someone drive you to your appointment, if possible.
Promethazine because of anticholinergic property and phenylpropanolamine due to sympathomimetic activity have been reported to cause acute angle-closure glaucoma. A person intoxicated on PCP may also develop a blank stare, during which they do not respond to direct visual stimuli. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Recreational drug use
Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers . Multiple central nervous system disorders e.g. epilepsy, stroke, and impending brain herniation are known to lead to temporal mydriasis as well. A brain catastrophe, or a rapidly increasing brain mass, can cause compression of the oculomotor nerve. The misuse of GHB involves putting the drug in the eyes with a dropper. Although they are less powerful than illegal stimulants like cocaine and meth, they have similar effects.
Your emotionsIt might sound a bit strange, but your emotions can affect how your pupils look! Cluster headacheA cluster headache refers to a specific kind of very intense headache that affects one very focal point of the face. Typically, cluster headaches take place behind the eye and can be very painful. The name “cluster headache” refers to the multiple headaches that occur within an episode. Some people may experience up to eight headaches in one day.
Speak with a healthcare professional if you’re concerned about signs of substance use disorder. The round opening in the center of the iris (the colored tissue that makes the “eye color” at the front of the eye). The pupils naturally dilate depending on your exposure to light. When the light is too bright, your pupils will constrict to minimize the amount getting into your eyes and dilate in dim light.
The parasympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the overall guidance of the human body. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for making bodily duties occur such as one’s heart rate, pupil constriction, and digestion. Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. When mydriasis is caused by third cranial nerve palsy, surgery may be recommended after six months if there is no improvement.
What are the Short-Term Side Effects of Pupil Dilation Drugs?
It affects an intoxicated person’s response to oncoming headlights, which can be dangerous. The pupil dilation due to alcohol intake is only temporary, which means that alcohol will only affect the pupils when someone is intoxicated. Cocaine causes dilated pupils because of inhibition of reuptake of norepinephrine.
Drugs such as tropicamide are used in medicine to permit examination of the retina and other deep structures of the eye, and also to reduce painful ciliary muscle spasm . One effect of administration of a mydriatic is intolerance to bright light . Purposefully-induced mydriasis via mydriatics is also used as a diagnostic test for Horner’s syndrome. Fixed, unilateral mydriasis could be a symptom of raised intracranial pressure. The opposite, constriction of the pupil, is referred to as miosis. Anisocoria is the condition of one pupil being more dilated than the other.
Drugs & Medications A-Z
Although pupils are generally responsive to your needs for better vision, they sometimes change size as an emotional response or due to chemical changes in the body. At high doses, one of the symptoms of overdose is pinpoint pupils that do not respond to changes in light. Ahead injury, stroke or brain tumor can affect how your pupils react to light and cause dilated pupils.
Pupils can dilate through internal and external conditions, such as drugs, or intense emotions such as staring into the eyes of a loved one. The muscles in the pupil contract to protect the eyes from too much light and to help people be able to focus on important subjects. The pupils treating bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse are the black dots in the center of your eyes that change in size in order to regulate the amount of light that enters. This light regulation is crucial to things like normal vision and focus. The size of your pupil is directed by the colored portion of your eye called the iris.