Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mydriasis is an excessive dilation of the pupil due to disease, drugs, or the like. Although the pupil will dilate in the dark normally, it is usually quite constricted (small) in the light. With myadriasis, a pupil will remain excessively large, even in a bright environment.
Abnormal constriction of the pupil is called miosis.
The mechanism that causes mydriasis depends on the agent being used. It will usually involve either a disruption of the parasympathetic nerve supply to the eye, or over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
Cocaine inhibits the reuptake of noradrenaline within a nerve synapse. When a solution of cocaine is dropped into the eye, noradrenaline is no longer reabsorbed by neurons, and its levels increase. Noradrenaline, the neurotransmitter for the SNS, causes dilation of the pupil.
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