You might think this is a bit of a nothing symptom. Some people just have big pupils, right? Wrong. Large pupils can actually be an indication of what’s going on in that head of yours.
And by head, I mean brain.
First things first, we have to check the obvious? Concussion can cause dilated pupils or uneven pupil size. So if you’ve recently received a blow to the head, you’ll want to get that checked out.
Your pupils should be roughly even in size, and should respond to light (i.e. Get smaller in well lit areas and larger in darker areas). If your pupils are dilated all the time, it can be indication that your brain is in a state of chronic or long term stress. If you’ve hung around The State of Me for a while, you’ll know what I’m about to say. But if you’re new here, then here’s the scoop: stress can be physical, chemical or mental/emotional. It’s all the same to your brain.
If you’ve Googled your symptoms and landed here, then relax. It’s not likely to a be a brain tumour here! It’s something that happens all the time. Let me tell you why.
Think about it: When a gazelle is being hunted, it needs to take in all the visual stimuli around it in order to spot the lion stalking through the long grass. The gazelles brain does what it needs to do, and dilates those pupils so it can take in all the details and notice even the smallest shift in the environment around it. That’s what needs to be done for the animal’s survival.
Humans are the same. From the primitive hunter-gatherer of yesteryear to the stressed-out office worker of today, our brains haven’t changed when it comes to doing what needs to be done when we encounter a stressor. The brain raises the “fight or flight” alarm and triggers all the neurological and physiological responses involved in protecting us.
What’s this got to do with your eyes? When we need to take in all the visual cues of potential danger around us, it fires up a neuron called the “Superior Colliculus.” This dilates your pupils so you can take in all the potential danger around you.
So that old line in a million fiction novels about the hero’s eyes growing wide – it may as well be about pupil dilation. Here’s the kicker though: fear, potential attackers, financial or relationship stress – the brain interprets it all the same. It’s all danger, so the full stress response is needed. Pupil dilation is just one of many neurological and physiological changes that happen under stress.
It actually can be an indication that there has been a locked-on stressor bothering you for a while. Regardless of what it is, it’s there and its locked on.
There’s a couple of other things going on in your brain though. The Superior Colliculus isn’t the only neuron firing. In the SD Protocol book, we talk about these neurons like siblings fighting in the back of the car. When one fires up, they all do. So there are a lot of changes in your body that are actually driven from your brain. In the short term, your body can handle it. In the long term, many systems in your body may start to tire and give out. You may start to suffer with inflammation, tight calf muscles, shoulders that feel like concrete, sensitivity to light and noise, headaches, migraines, even autoimmune conditions in the long run. Your hormones might be a mess. You might struggle with food intolerances, thyroid or gallbladder problems, or weight you can’t shift.
Just dilated pupils? Heck no. It’s potentially a big insight into your brain, body and general state of wellbeing.
If your pupils are big though, you haven’t been under chronic stress for too long. Its been a while, but its not been years. In the early stages of chronic stress, your pupils dilate thanks to the Superior Colliculus. In the long term, another one of those siblings in the four wheel drive asserts its dominance. It’s called the Edinger Westphal Nucleus and it causes those pupils to come right down to pinpricks.
Based on the size of your pupils, an SD Practitioner can tell if you’ve been under chronic stress for a relatively short time, or a really long one.
If your pupils are letting as much light in as they can, and doing it all the time, you might struggle with sensitivity to light, driving at night, and getting good quality sleep. You might also have an ongoing battle with headaches. But there’s no such thing as a random symptom – not even big pupils.
It’s time you start to look at the whole system, and implement some seriously simple tools to get it all back under control – moving your body and brain out of fight or flight mode, and into a gear where you can start resting, repairing and enjoying life again.
Notice the signs. Take responsibility and get power back over your health.
B.HSc B.App.HSc (Chiropractic)
Photo sourced from: https://www.allaboutvision.com/