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Which Drugs Cause Dilated Pupils?

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Dilated pupils are one of the many symptoms that may indicate drug use. Drugs affect your nervous system, which may cause the pupils of your eyes to expand to different widths depending on the type of drug you’ve taken. Dilated pupils can lead to blurry vision, headaches, and eye sensitivity, and prolonged drug use can damage a person’s eyesight. Here is a list of some commonly used substances that cause dilated pupils: 

Alcohol 

Drinking alcohol relaxes the muscles in your eyes, causing your pupils to dilate. Although the effects on your eyes and vision are temporary, becoming intoxicated makes your eyes extremely sensitive to light, which is one reason why driving while drunk is dangerous. 

Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing your pupils to expand. Taking methamphetamines also causes rapid eye movement and can lead to nerve damage that impairs eyesight. 

LSD

LSD, also known as acid, is a popular hallucinogen that affects the transmission of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for perception and muscle control, among other functions, and also causes the pupils to expand.

Cocaine 

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that triggers the release of dopamine and endorphins, causing the pupils in yours to dilate and appear bloodshot as the blood vessels in your eyes expand. Sometimes referred to as “cocaine eyes”, snorting cocaine can cause your pupils to dilate for up to thirty minutes. Prolonged cocaine use can damage the retina and cornea, leading to glaucoma, eye infections, and in some cases, the complete loss of vision. 

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Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/6734-hallucinogens-lsd-peyote-psilocybin-and-pcp

https://www.healthline.com/health/dilated-pupils-drugs#permanent-dilation

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