Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Dilated pupils and psychosis

My son has cycled into relapse now, showing more and more signs of psychosis and I have a question to pose.

The first time he was on the brink of full psychosis 8 months ago, I noticed his eyes were all black because of fully dilated pupils. Now that he is on the brink again, he has the same huge black dilated pupils.

Has anyone else had this experience with sz? I can only find reference to it regarding mania. My son isn’t diagnosed yet so I’m just looking for information as I put together my own list of his behaviors and symptoms.


@JooJoo - Yes I’ve seen the dark eyes on my son. In not sure if they were dialated but yes dark and looked a little “crazed”. He is diagnosed sz or an undiagnosed with some kind of psychosis. I believe it is paranoid sz from what I have read. His doctor, that saw him for less than an hour, said sz. I said sz? He said that or an undiagnosed psychosis.


My son’s eyes fully dilate during total breaks with reality. Its the first thing that catches my attention. Its so noticeable.


Yeah he has these huge black eyes that lock in on me or something else for long periods and it is extremely unnerving. I am surprised there isn’t more about this symptom online - the dilated pupils that is. I have only found it as a description of eyes during mania.

It is one of the very physically noticeable symptoms for sure.

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Yes! During my sz husband’s worse psychotic episode, his eyes were all black! Dialated! Like something else had taken him over.


Yeah totally - like something else has taken him over.


Oh my goodness. I never heard of this happening. Question? …for everyone.

Can your loved one…“SEE” okay? or is it all blurry??? (do they wear glasses?) or do they take them off?

I would LOVE to know and research this.

Thank you

He could see ok, as far as I know

My son sees fine as far as I know but when his eyes get like this - it’s like the lights are on but nobody is home. He gets very catatonic.

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My daughter has SZ and I first noticed the eye look when I took pictures of her. She was on Risperidone and the look on her face was tense, wide eyed, like a frightened animal. Right now she is on Envega shots. It is up and down, the worst time is a week out from her shot. Tonight her eyes rolled all the way up and she said she had no control over it.

All kinds of eye stuff might be going on:

This article doesn’t include dilated pupils, but I observed that during episodes in our family member when they were unmedicated and drug-free.

Lots of visibly different eye movements and self-reported difficulties tracking as well. At first, the doctors did an EEG to see whether there was seizure activity due to the unusual eye movements that could not be controlled. There was not.


Isn’t it surprising how quickly some doctors will diagnose scz? And others will hold out and say it is not scz but an unspecified psychotic disorder. But of all the (3) main psychotic disorders, scz is the most common.

After my sons first hospitalization at age 14, doctor said Unspecified Psychotic disorder. He assured my husband it was not scz. How could he say that? What he was really saying is it’s not scz YET. But to this day, 3 1/2 years later, my husband holds onto that idea. Other MH people wouldn’t tell us it was scz either. They even said his behavior was autistic. He was put on antipsychotic meds after being hospitalized for the first time and has been on them almost constantly. A couple of times he was off them for a couple months but he would not sleep at night and his behavior got odd and he was kind of paranoid and “testy” with us. Arguing with his dad and becoming violent very quickly. Luckily he is on meds now.

At the end of last year

I remember a when my son was completely in phychosis his eyes looked so black and he was always looking up st something that seemed to be on the top of the wall. his left eye would twitch uncontrollably. This was before I knew anything about sz, and it was so scary.

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At FtF they said we never really do know what they may be seeing during an episode.

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Yes, this happens often. His nervous system is stimulated.


Blinking…slowly, but repeatedly.

It’s his sign…
he’ll start blinking and looking around.

He sometimes will tell me the walls are melting.
Most times, he won’t say anything.

BUT, he’s not listening. He can’t.
I will ask: “are you finished talking?”

He’ll only nod.
We give him space.
Most conversations lasting longer than 15 minutes (at home, no stress) leads to this.
Stressful situations? It’s within a few minutes.

OMG yes slow blinking. I’ve seen that too.

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Yep seen it …first off I thought it was recreational drugs then looked it up… At the time it was …well a bit scary


I’ve always noticed my son, 45-years old paranoid SZ, wears very dark sunglasses.

Just last week-end when I visited him in the State group home,

his eyes were big and wild, and like he couldn’t close them.

It’s a comfort to hear others’ experiences with this horrible disease.


from Vermont


OMG me too. I thought oh he’s smoking pot again. But it’s happened in two different breaks now. Both times eerily similar.

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