Enlargement of one pupil; Pupils of different size; Eyes/pupils different size
Anisocoria is unequal pupil size. The pupil is the black part in the center of the eye. It gets larger in dim light and smaller in bright light.
Slight differences in pupil sizes are found in up to 1 in 5 healthy people. Usually, the diameter difference is less than 0.5 mm, but it can be up to 1 mm (0.05 inch).
Babies born with different sized pupils may not have any underlying disorder. If other family members also have similar pupils, then the pupil size difference is possibly genetic and nothing to worry about.
Also, for unknown reasons, pupils may temporarily differ in size. If there are no other symptoms and if the pupils return to normal, then it is nothing to worry about.
Unequal pupil sizes of more than 1 mm that develop later in life and do NOT return to equal size may be a sign of an eye, brain, blood vessel, or nerve disease.
The use of eyedrops is a common cause of a harmless change in pupil size. Other medicines that get in the eyes, including medicine from asthma inhalers, can change pupil size.
Other causes of unequal pupil sizes may include:
Baloh RW. Neuro-ophthalmology. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 450.
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 418.
Rucker JC. Pupillary and eyelid abnormalities. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Bradley: Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008:chap 17.
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