Are Constricted Pupils Always a Sign of Drug Use?

opioids and pupils

Many people assume that constricted pupils are a sign of drug use. While constricted pupils drugs effects are common, there are other reasons someone might have constricted pupils. However, the most common reason for constricted pupils is drug use. Keep in mind that constricted pupils could come from someone using prescription drugs without abusing them as well. 

Pinpoint Pupils 

When someone’s pupils are normal, they will change size. They do this due to the light that is entering the eye. When it is dark, the pupils will become more significant or dilate to allow more light to enter the eye. When it is bright, the pupil will constrict or shrink to help protect the eye from excess light. 

However, when someone has certain medical issues or uses drugs, the pupils can shrink to what is known as pupils pinpoint. This means that the pupils are smaller and do not work as they should. This means that at night, the pupils will not expand, and in the light, they do not shrink. They are the same size all the time. We are going to talk about some of the reasons someone may have pinpoint pupils. 

Opioid or Narcotics 

Opioids and pupils are directly related. Someone who is prescribed opioids can experience pinpoint pupils just like someone who is abusing opioids. However, the severity of their pinpoint pupils can differ depending on how much they are using. If someone is using the drug as prescribed for a short period of time, their pupils will not be as subject to being pinpoint as someone who is abusing the drug for extended periods of time. 

Those who start with opioids could switch to heroin. Heroin is morphine. This is also an opioid. People who abuse prescription opioids will often turn to heroin after their prescription has run out, and they have grown used to the drug. Those who abuse opioid prescriptions are more likely to turn to heroin to receive a better or similar high to the drug they were using. 

Horner Syndrome 

This is just one example of a medical condition that could cause someone to have pinpoint pupils. This is a condition that is caused when someone has a stroke or has a tumor in the trunk of their brain. This is often known as the brainstem. It affects specific nerves that would control the pupils. 

Head Injury 

People who have injuries to their central nervous system could have pinpoint pupils. The most common injuries happen to the head in accidents involving vehicles. However, other head injuries can cause pinpoint pupils as well. When someone suffers a head injury and has pinpoint pupils, this could indicate to professionals that they have serious problems internally. Pinpoint pupils, in this case, could save the life of someone because they indicate underlying problems. Those who suffer from these injuries may not get their normal pupils back due to damage to the brain. 

Pinpoint pupils occur for many reasons. It isn’t just the abuse of drugs that people have pinpoint pupils. Eye conditions, injuries, and certain medications can cause someone to have this problem as well.