Many medications and drugs contain substances that can cause the pupils to dilate. These substances, anticholinergics, block certain chemicals from reaching the eyes, muscles, and glands. Before some exams, a doctor or optometrist may use mydriatics to intentionally dilate the patient’s pupils. This allows the physician to examine the retina and the other structures deep within the eye. Mydriatics can last as long as 24 hours. Other medications that can cause the eyes to dilate include antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants.
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