Drugs & Pupils

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
20+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2003
Reaction score
I am having major problems keeping it straight in my pea brain
pupil sizes -I know they are an indication of the drug (legal or illegal) that the patient is on, also we can figure out if the patient is OD'd on it or is going thru withdrawal.
I CANNOT KEEP IT STRAIGHT and it trips me with every damn question.
ciliary and radial ,open angle and closed ..drugs.ugh.
So if some one ,aspiring optho docs ,gunners for ER or plain smart ppl know how i can tacle this please....post.mnemonics.anything.

Members don't see this ad.
This might not seem to be the most helpful reply, but its better than nothing...


Just a recommendation, but I think its infinitely more important/high yield to first understand WHY you get miosis versus mydriasis (i.e. whats more screwed up? the sympathetics which want to dilate your pupils in fight/flight or the paras which want to constrict them).

The memorizing part should be easy, since you'll have memorized every drug/toxin's MOA during path/pharm study.
Members don't see this ad :)
I had them straight at one point soo hopfully i remember it correctly. I learned them based on mechanism. Symp agonist will dilate, PNS agonist will constrict. Thats half of your battle. With the glaucoma drugs, usually the Ach agonist will treat glaucoma cause you are constricting the muscles and allows the fluid to flow. If you remember atropine it may make the others easier. Atropine is a Ach antagonist which will paralyze the ciliary muscles which will CAUSE glaucoma. Since you are inhib the PNS, it will cause pupillary dilation.

Not sure if thats what you are looking for but hope it helps.
i love all of you guys .thanks .pinkertingle that was classic!!!
When I was looking for a pharm book, I came across one good example for Pilocarpine's action on pupil, i.e., pupil constriction:

1> Linking a drug name (Pilocarpine) to its action (Pupil constriction):
PILOCARPINE: A PILE of CAR-delivered PINEs is used for the pupil constri(u)ction project (illustruated with a figure).

You may check the example by yourself using the link:


Hope it helps!