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WHO, also known as The World Health Organization, has reported that about million people have fallen into drug abuse in the year. However, these are only the cases that have been reported. If you have high suspicions that someone close to you might be falling into drug addiction, you must remain observant and watch out for any s, such as dilated pupils, which is one of the most common symptoms.


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The mirror tells a story as you look into it, one you know everyone is going to read the second you step outside. If only you had some sunglasses or some eye drops.

Drugs that cause dilated pupils

You can feel panic starting to set in. Did you make a horrible decision?

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Oh god this is going to be bad. There has to be some way to stop your eyes from looking like this!

Why pupil dilation occurs

How are you going to face your friends, or what if your teacher notices and calls your mom?! Dilated pupils can certainly bring a lot of unintended consequences along with them, including ideas other people have about what they mean.

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We look people in the eye out of a natural desire to know them, to listen, and to experience their lives. Your eyes are always dilating and constricting getting smaller all throughout the day.

Drugs associated with dilated pupils

Specifically though, why do certain drugs and substances cause eyes to dilate? Their pupils were massive! The scientific term for pupils dilating is mydriasis. When a pupil gets smaller it is called miosis.

Recognize the s: pupil dilation drug chart

This means when your pupils are getting wider due to light it will only be because they have already constricted. And why do our pupils get smaller in response to light?

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Similarly, our pupils will get smaller to help us see things that are closer to us. That is an incredibly simplified version of how it works, however. The third reason for dilation, a response to an outside or internal stimulus, is where our interest lies here.

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When a drug or substance that affects your nervous system is introduced into your body it has a chance of affecting your eyes. A variety of drugs can cause this, some prescription and some not. The most common type of drugs that cause miosis are opiates.

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There are some other interesting facts about pupil constriction in relation to opiates like heroin and morphine. Pupils will typically constrict within 15 minutes to an hour of heroin entering the body and can last between three and five hours. Someone who is non-dependent can experience constricted pupils for up to two hours, while someone who is dependent will have their eyes return to normal within 15 minutes. You can make an educated guess or even an uneducated guess, but in order to know for sure, you will need a lot more information. Remember, all of our bodies are reacting to a lot of different factors all at once.

The science behind drugs causing dilated pupils

Most of the tests conducted in treatment facilities or by police are relying on multiple steps like checking blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. There is generally no one piece of information that is going to accurately predict what drug someone has ingested. Usually, people respond to dilated pupils by wearing sunglasses to hide them or to protect their eyes from the light, which feels much brighter than usual.

Eyes can also become red sometimes permanently from prolonged marijuana use. Eye drops are sometimes used to try and fix this.

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If someone is trying to hide their drug or substance use they may be struggling with addiction. If there is also a struggle with mental health SUN Behavioral has co-occurring treatment options that can help address every aspect of your struggle. Call us at to ask about your treatment options.

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We want to help. It can mean many things.

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Your eyes may be reacting to light by contracting getting smaller or because they are trying to focus on an object that is close to you. The other possibility is that you have ingested a drug or substance that caused your eyes to dilate. Different substances have varied effects on your pupils, but some drugs like hallucinogens and cocaine can make your pupils dilate drastically.

Which prescription drugs dilate pupils

Potentially, although there are not a lot of definitive studies on this. Some doctors have seen stress lead to dry eyes, twitching eyelids, and occasionally yes, dilated pupils, but there is more evidence pointing to those situations being rare. More common, regarding stress and dilated pupils, is if someone is experiencing shock. The most common drugs that can cause dilated pupils are: cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and marijuana. Other drugs can cause your eyes to constrict called miosis ; the most common one with this effect is heroin.

Table of Contents.

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You look in the mirror and notice that the dark circles in the middle of your eyes are bigger than usual.


Are you concerned about s of drug use in your child or another loved one?


If your child is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, they may be able to hide some of the s from you, but their eyes can often reveal what they are doing.


Most people are usually familiar with what dilated pupils are, and chances are you are as well!