What is Adie's Pupil?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Adie's pupil is a neurological condition characterized by a lack of sensitivity to the light in the eye. The eye normally responds very quickly to changes in light levels, accommodating very rapidly to prevent obscured vision. In a patient with Adie's pupil, one or more eyes may have a delayed response, and it is not uncommon for one pupil to be dilated more than the other. In fact, the hallmark sign of Adie's pupil is a consistently dilated pupil which responds poorly, if at all, to changes in light levels.

This condition appears to be the result of infection or inflammation which damages the muscles and nerves responsible for dilation of the pupil. In a patient with Adie's pupil, the muscles which normally dilate and contract the pupil are not as responsive as they should be. The condition can be diagnosed by an eye doctor or neurologist, who can also recommend appropriate treatment.

Specialized prescription glasses can be used to compensate for the vision problems associated with Adie's pupil. Medications can also be used to manage the condition and the symptoms, and to keep the patient more comfortable. If these measures do not work, surgery may be performed to rupture part of the sympathetic nerve trunk. This procedure is only recommended when other measures do not work, as it is potentially risky, and must be performed by a very experienced surgeon who is extremely familiar with the anatomy of the nerves in the area.


This condition is also known as Homes-Adie Syndrome or Adie's tonic pupil syndrome. If it is identified in a patient, a doctor may attempt to determine the cause. Learning about the cause can be important, as the patient may be at risk of developing other problems, and these problems could be avoided with treatment, or spotted earlier by someone who is looking out for them. The patient and doctor may also simply be generally interested to know about the origins of the condition.

Adie's pupil is permanent, and it can grow progressively worse over time. For this reason, patients should take care to alert new physicians about their condition during initial sessions, so that it can be taken into account during the course of routine medical treatment. It is also important to receive regular eye exams to check for further progression of the condition and to determine if changes need to be made to the patient's treatment plan.


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Post 1

Any eye surgery seems so serious and dangerous! I am glad that the eye surgery for Adie's Pupil is a last resort. It seems considerably risky since a skilled surgeon has to rupture part of the sympathetic nerve trunk!

It is sad that there is no cure for Adie's Pupil, but at least there are a few treatments for it.

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