Q:

What causes the pupils in your eyes to be small?

A:

Quick Answer

Usually, the pupils of the eyes become small, or constrict, in response to a strong light source, such as sunlight. Certain medications, drugs or ailments also cause small pupil size.

Continue Reading
What causes the pupils in your eyes to be small?
Credit: Philippe Bigard OJO Images Getty Images

Full Answer

The pupil is the opening in the center of the iris of the eye. A chief function of the pupil is to control the amount of light entering the eye. Two muscles, the sphincter and the dilator, control the size of the pupil in response to changes in light. The dilator muscle radiates out from the pupil like a star. In low-light conditions, dilator muscles contract, causing the pupil to dilate, or widen. This allows more light to enter the eye for better vision in dark conditions. The sphincter muscle surrounds the pupil like a band. As light increases, the sphincter muscle contracts, causing the pupil to contract as well. This ensures that too much light does not inundate the eye, causing discomfort, vision problems or damage to the eye.

Some drugs or medications, particularly certain recreational drugs, cause excessive contraction of the sphincter muscle and extremely small, or pinpoint, pupils. Small pupils also sometimes occur along with migraines or cluster headaches. During a severe headache, many people become very sensitive to bright lights, and the body attempts to combat this by contracting the pupil.

Learn more about Human Anatomy

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do people cry?

    A:

    Crying is an emotional response to many different feelings, including sadness, anger, happiness and pain. People cry for an emotional release and also as a survival mechanism to signal to themselves that they need to address a certain situation in their lives that is causing them stress.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can you not be ticklish?

    A:

    A tickle is the human body's involuntary response to a foreign stimulus contacting the skin. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that this response is not present in everyone.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do testicles move?

    A:

    Testicles lift and descend in response to the contraction and relaxation of the cremaster muscle. Testicles rest gently inside this thin, pouch-shaped muscle, which draws them toward or away from the body as a way of regulating their temperature. The Mayo Clinic lists several factors, apart from temperature, that can trigger the retraction of the testicles. These include stimulation of the genitofemoral nerve and extreme emotions such as anxiety.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the probable function of wisdom teeth?

    A:

    Anthropologists believe the probable function of wisdom teeth is a response to the coarse diet that earlier humans had. Foods such as roots and nuts required more chewing before swallowing.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore