Dilated pupils = drug use?

I know a few people who always seem to have dilated pupils. One is a manager where I work. He is 53 years old, an engineer, and very successful. But the pupils in his eyes usually seem dilated, especially in the morning. And they often look watery. (I’ve also seen him use Visine.) Not sure if this is relevant, but he is a very demanding “take charge” kind of person, and has quite a temper. Could his dilated pupils be the result of a drug addition?

Another is my neighbor. He’s 55 years old and always has *very *dilated pupils. I know he likes to smoke pot.

So I’m curious… when a person has dilated pupils, is it usually the result of illicit drug use, or is there more often a benign/medical reason?

I believe some prescription medications produce the same results.

Could it be related to wearing contacts?

A good friend of mine pretty much always has dilated pupils. I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that she’s not using any illicit drugs. It’s possible that she’s taking a prescription drug that causes it (and she does wear contacts).

True. I think you find this with drugs that increase levels of norepinephrine. This is one of the neurotransmitters that is affected by amphetamines too btw.

Also, IIRC, there is a lot of variability between people in terms of what is normal dilation for a given amount of ambient light. I know that mine are never much more than a third of the diameter of my iris (if that), which I suspect is probably on the low side. In which case people might accuse me of being a junkie since they tend to have the opposite problem - small, pin-point pupils.

I was going to mention amphetamines but didn’t have a cite. I think eye-reddening is also related to some drugs (because of constriction of blood vessels?). I usually think someone’s been smoking weed when their pupils are dilated and the eyes are bloodshot.

I’ve often wondered about the same thing, you hear this a lot and I can imagine someone going around finding all these hidden “drug addicts” who just have naturally strange pupils.

*Has small pupils:P

Dilated pupils can occur with practically any stimulant, such as caffeine. Maybe he just swills a lot of coffee or energy drinks, which also makes him irritable and gives him the temper.

If his eyes are watery a lot, maybe he just has allergies and takes something with pseudoephedrine, like Claritin D. I run into people with allergies who claim they live on that stuff when the pollen is bad. In which case, he’s possibly irritable about having to sign for it all the time these days.

Dilated Pupils are supposed to also be a sign of attraction. Maybe your co-worker has the hots for you.

I have naturally larger-than-average pupils. Optometretists have remarked on this and I rarely have to get the eye-dilating drops when I go in for an eye exam.
I’ve noticed larger pupils on people who are currently high on LSD or cocaine. As deltasigma said, opiates have the opposite effect- when I was a junkie, my boss once asked if I got colored contacts, because my eyes looked much greener than before. This was due to my pinpointed pupils, but he fortunately didn’t know that at the time.

I usually think someone’s been smoking weed when they drift off topic while asking if I ever really, really listened to Revolution 9.

(I did, BTW. Really, really listened to it, that is, but straight.)

Another possibility: dextromethorphan (an ingredient in Robitussin and Coricidin and other cold medications) can cause humongous pupils if taken excessively. If the OP’s co-worker’s eyes are watery, he could have allergies that he is self-medicating with these types of OTC drugs. Perhaps he is hypersensitive or is taking a little too much.
Dextromethorphan is also taken recreationally, but I’ve noticed the pupil dilation occurs at doses somewhat lower than you would need to get intoxicated.

Interesting. The fact never occured to me, even though i should have remembered that there’s a range for every system.

Do you take extra precautions outside?

I’m interested because i can see you (heh) one better. Since a massive trauma to one eye when I was a boy (rock, pane of glass, immense inquisitiveness matched by heedlessness/knuckle-headedness), my pupil is permanently at extreme wide open (if not wider than anyone’s by being ripped open?).

I’m blind in that eye, except for basic receptivity to light. So, I wear super-duper black sunglasses, or if I must go to the beach–which I otherwise would love–a patch.

No, there is still some iris visible, my pupils are not all the way dilated. If I am sober and there are no weird light conditions, they are just large enough that eye doctors can examine them without using any cyclopentolate or other eye drops.