October 30, 2023

What are Meth Eyes?

AN image of a woman's eyes, depicting the symptom of meth eyes common with meth use

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Meth eyes, also known as methamphetamine eyes, is a term used for the physical indications commonly linked with the use of meth. Meth is a potent and habit-forming illicit stimulant that affects the CNS (central nervous system). Its usage can result in a spectrum of physical and psychological manifestations, including enlarged pupils, rapid eye movements, and a distinct alteration in the eyes known as meth eyes.

The main indicator of eyes on meth is dilation of the pupils. Pupils on meth can retain their dilated form for several hours. This often imparts a glassy or shiny appearance to the eyes and may cause the whites of the eyes to appear bloodshot. Meth use may also trigger swift eye movements, contributing to a generally agitated or restless look in the eyes of those using this powerful drug.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that can cause severe long-term health repercussions. The prolonged use of meth is associated with physical symptoms like weight loss, dental issues, and skin lesions, as well as a battery of psychological issues. If you or someone that you care about is struggling with stimulant use disorder, read on to discover how to connect with the help you need.

What Do Meth Eyes Look Like?

Meth eyes may exhibit various noticeable changes, including dilated pupils, rapid eye movements, and a glassy or glossy appearance, which can make the whites of the eyes appear bloodshot. These alterations contribute to the characteristic meth eyes appearance often associated with methamphetamine use.

Meth Dilated Pupils

One of the most prominent features of meth eyes is methamphetamine pupil dilation. Pupils on methamphetamine may remain enlarged for hours after use. Methamphetamines pupils are a physiological response induced by the drug.

Meth Eye Discharge

In addition to triggering the development of meth pupils, stimulant use can lead to eye-related complications like excessive dryness or the production of unusual discharge. These symptoms, often associated with chronic meth abuse, may indicate underlying eye health issues that require medical attention.

Meth Fast Eye Movements

The consumption of methamphetamine can lead to rapid, erratic eye movements, resulting in a jittery or twitchy appearance. These fast eye movements are associated with the stimulant effects of the drug and can contribute to the characteristic restlessness shown in those with meth eyes.

Glassy Meth Eyes

A distinct characteristic of meth eyes is the glassy or glossy appearance that affects the overall look of the eyes. This appearance is attributed to the heightened stimulation caused by meth, which can lead to a shiny or reflective quality in the eyes.

Bloodshot Meth Eyes

Methamphetamine use can result in the blood vessels in the eyes becoming dilated, leading to a reddening of the whites of the eyes. The presence of bloodshot eyes is a common indicator of meth use and can be an easily recognizable sign of recent or ongoing stimulant abuse.

An image of a woman who is experiencing the symptom of meth eyes, a side effect of meth use

What Does Meth Do to Your Eyes?

Any use of meth can result in short-term and long-term effects on the eyes. In the short term, meth can cause pupil dilation, bloodshot eyes, and rapid eye movements, which can impede vision and hinder the ability to focus on objects. Additionally, meth use can lead to dry eyes and a reduction in tear production, leading to generalized discomfort and irritation.

Long-term meth use can lead to damage to the blood vessels, giving rise to a host of eye-related issues like glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness. The effects of meth use can extend beyond ocular complications, impacting the overall health of the body and contributing to the development of various eye problems.

Persistent meth use can harm the cornea – the transparent outer layer of the eye – potentially leading to the development of keratoconus. This condition involves progressive thinning and protrusion of the cornea, often resulting in blurred and distorted vision. In severe cases, corneal transplant surgery is required to address the issue effectively.

Chronic meth use may precipitate damage to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue situated at the back of the eye. This can lead to the emergence of MAR (methamphetamine-associated retinopathy), characterized by impairment to the small blood vessels within the retina. MAR can give rise to a reduction in visual acuity, compromised color vision, and the appearance of blind spots within the visual field.

The effects of meth on the eyes are a visible manifestation of the broader implications of methamphetamine use on overall health. Prolonged meth use can lead to a host of detrimental consequences, including severe dental issues, skin problems, and weight loss. Seeking prompt intervention and support for individuals struggling with methamphetamine use can help prevent long-term complications and promote overall well-being. If you or someone you care about is experiencing the effects of methamphetamine use, seeking professional help and support services is imperative to initiate the path towards recovery and long-term health.

An image of the Gratitude Lodge facility, where those with a meth addiction can receive treatment and help

Get Help for Meth Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you have issues with crystal meth eyes, meth sores, or addiction to stimulants like methamphetamine, we can help you at Gratitude Lodge. Our welcoming and inclusive treatment centers are pet-friendly and located in Newport Beach and Long Beach, California.

Although there are no FDA-approved medications indicated for the treatment of meth withdrawal, supervised medical detoxification provides the safest environment in which you can withdraw from methamphetamine under close medical supervision. After about a week, you can move into ongoing inpatient treatment.

Our residential meth addiction treatment programs draw from therapies like counseling, psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, and holistic interventions. All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs also include a comprehensive aftercare component to minimize the chance of relapse derailing recovery from meth addiction.

Call 888-861-1658 and begin your recovery right away.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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