Doe-Eyed: Why Do Pupils Dilate When You Look At Someone You Love?

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 06, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Oct 12, 2021
A young woman's eye close up.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Ever noticed how the size of our pupil changes when we look at someone we love?

A dilated pupil is a sign your eye can make, telling others a lot of secrets that you may not want everybody to know. It is a common phenomenon in all eyes, especially noticeable in human eyes.

Pupils are the center of the colored area in the eye. A dilating pupil can mean many things, but it has been noticed that looking at someone you love causes our pupils to dilate. However, you must know that it may differ from individual to individual.

There are many factors that influence our pupil size. Pupil dilation can happen because of bright lights, low light, day, sunshine, darkness, and night.

Lights cause pupils to dilate. Pupils are responsible of controlling the amount of light we see. Our eyes can also dilate when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

This is due to our eyes reacting to the reflection of the light in the mirror. Pupils decide how much light to send through the eyes or eye lens. Pupil size increases when the eye needs more light, and vice versa.

It will shrink to reduce the light passing through the eyes. Eyes are the center of any social interaction.

Eye contact is where most words or feelings are expressed. They do most of the talking and eyes give away a lot of signs. Emotions are conveyed, portrayed, and expressed by different eye movements through eye contact.

Let's understand the relation between our eyes and emotions. For beginners, dopamine and oxytocin, also called as the 'love hormones', are chemicals from our brain that affect the size of our pupils.

It happens that when an individual is romantically attracted to someone, their brain receives a boost of these chemicals and this surge of hormones appears to make your pupils dilate. Biological explanations suggest that dilating pupils may also be related to the need or sign to reproduce.

Other factors can also attribute to dilated pupils. When having physiological responses including surprise, attraction, or fear can also cause your pupils to dilate, giving you larger pupils.

To learn more interesting facts, you can also visit these why do cells divide and why do people work.

Do pupils dilate when you look at someone you love?

Pupil dilation has also been referred to as mydriasis and turns out, the look of love may just be a real thing.

Next time you are with your partner or family, keep in mind that your iris muscle, responsible for the dilation of the pupil, is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

Just like those uncontrollable and unexpected surprising butterflies that you may feel when being around someone you are attracted to, someone's feelings for you might be visible through their eyes.

Research studies have also shown that viewing pictures of someone that you have an attraction to can illicit a non-verbal response through pupil dilation.

Dilated pupils may mean an individual is emotionally expressive and that they are in love.

This has been proven by scientists, but this may differ from individual to individual.

However, the most common reason for larger pupils or dilated pupils is the low amount of light in a dark room, since low lights can also cause your pupil size to grow. Other health factors that tend to cause pupil dilation also include brain injury, sexual attraction, use of drugs, stress, bad vision, medication, or an eye injury.

Therefore, when you continuously experience pupil dilation, it is recommended to seek medical help as it can be a sign of iris injury, infection, or misuse/overuse of drugs since all dilated pupils may not mean you are in love or that you have an attraction towards someone.

Also, not all those who are in a relationship or in love with someone show dilated pupils. It differs from person to person and when a person's pupils dilate, it doesn't necessarily mean love.

It can also mean that they are stressed out or suffering from a certain injury. In the case of a relationship or love, if your pupils are not dilated, understand that it doesn't mean that you love them less than your partner if their eyes dilate.

Reasons Pupils Dilate When You Look At Someone You Love

There are several reasons attached to this mesmerizing fact about dilated eyes. The art of eye contact has been put into practice to show someone that you have romantic feelings for them.

Pupil sizes are responsive to the amount of light entering into the eyes.

When our eyes need more light, they may respond by increasing in size. Research has shown that the release of dopamine chemicals from our brain causes your eyes to dilate when looking at someone attractive, at someone they are attracted to, and at someone that they love.

One of the common reasons that our pupils are dilated is our expressive emotions and the heavy release of dopamine chemicals in our nervous system. When you feel head-over heel for someone, it is possible that your pupils are dilated when you are around them.

The reason behind it may be because our pupils are the most expressive organ in our body, as human eyes never lie when it comes to personal feelings.

Dilated pupils can also help medical doctors better examine an individual to understand their overall health by taking a closer look at the blood vessels in the iris.

Our eyes also dilate upon bright light exposure, which can be seen when directly flashing our eyes with a light. An eye doctor checking your vision may observe your eyes dilate when flashing your eyes with light during a checkup.

A child with Pupils.

Is dilation of pupils a sign of love?

You cannot control whether your eyes dilate or not in certain situations. It is purely the work of inner feelings and emotions in most cases.

Not every case of pupil dilation is a sign of love. It may also mean an injury in your eye, infection, brain damage, or stress since eyes reveal much more than love and feelings.

Our eyes can help in detecting poor well-being, which is why doctors often check your eyes during a medical check-up. Increasing pupil size may also mean overuse of drugs or serious health issues like heart failure in some cases.

When to worry about dilated pupils?

Apart from emotional reasons, our pupils dilate for many reasons, but if they occur often and after stressful or traumatic events, then you should worry about it and seek medical help from a doctor.

You must seek immediately seek medical attention if:

You experience a heavy injury in your head and have observed that your pupils have dilated.

If one of your pupils looks larger in size than the other after a traumatic event.

If you have sudden dizziness, headaches, balance problems, confusion, or possible symptoms of strokes, accompanied with dilated pupils.

Many people whose pupils stay dilated for a long time may also have a teary, red eye with blurry vision if they have been through an accident. In such cases, medical attention must be provided immediately.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do pupils dilate when you look at someone you love, then why not take a look at why do we fall or why do people dance.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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