Destination Hope Blog » Cocaine & Other Drug Effects on Your Eyes

Cocaine & Other Drug Effects on Your Eyes

Addiction and drug abuse effect all parts of the human body. Each month, we’ve been highlighting the impact of these drugs on different body systems. This month we’re going to discuss the impact on your eyesight and vision.

Eyesight is not something we generally think of when we’re thinking of the damage caused by addiction and drug abuse. Instead, we think of the liver, heart or lungs, major body systems which often show sign of abuse in serious physical ways. The eyes are more delicate, but that doesn’t mean that the impact is minor. Looking at the size of your pupils such as having large black holes with limited iris visibility could be a sign. Even red eyes, which we typically think of when we list the symptoms of drug abuse, is not a minor side effect.

Your Eyes, Addiction, and Drug Abuse

Each drug has a physical impact and a chemical impact on the body and neurotransmitters in your brain. Therefore, we’re going to break down commonly abused drugs and discuss both types of complications.


Amphetamines, like Adderall or Dexedrine are often taken as performance enhancing drugs. This type of drug causes physical side effects, like dilation, redness, and hallucinations. Chemically, amphetamine abuse can lead to a reduced ability for the eye to focus. Dilation is perhaps the most dangerous of these side effects, as it increases the risk for acute angle-closure glaucoma, a very serious eye emergency that can result in blurred or loss of vision.


Cocaine is an eye anesthetic, meaning that when you take cocaine you may be unable to feel the damage that occurs to your eyes. Bumping, scratching, and even corneal ulcers can occur, causing pain, blurred visions and even scarring that can cause permanent vision loss.


Individuals suffering from heroin addiction and drug abuse may have tightly constricted pupils. Their pupils will not respond to low light, impairing vision. In addition, the constriction of the blood vessels can lead to loss of vision or blurred vision.

Intravenously injected drugs

Addiction and drug abuse that results in intravenous drug use have significant impacts on the body. Just as the drug is easily absorbed, so are the other chemicals in the drug. Cutting agents, like talc, or chalk can deposit in the body, especially in the eyes.

These substances do not easily dissolve in the body. Deposits that form in the retina, which acts like “film” in the eyes camera can not only distort the image like a deposit on film would, but also the loss of vision. Large deposits or particles that collect on the retina can block circulation in the tissue, causing rapid and severe blurred vision.

Addiction and drug abuse are treatable and many people live healthy sober lives after rehab.  The human body begins to heal the moment the substance abuse stops, so it is never too late to start a sober lifestyle. If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse, dependency or addiction, please call us today.

Our counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of your drug abuse. Drug abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives and lead a life of sobriety. Destination Hope is a full-service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse issues.