Cyclopentolate (Ophthalmic)

Used to enlarge the patient's pupil, Cyclopentolate may be administered before eye examinations are carried out.


In order to carry out a thorough eye examination, ophthalmologists may need to enlarge the patient's pupil and prevent the eye from working as it normally would. Also known as mydriasis, pupil dilation enables the ophthalmologist to examine the patient's vision in greater detail. By administering Cyclopentolate ophthalmic solution, physicians can ensure that the patient's pupils become dilated so that they can carry out the exam.

In addition to this, Cyclopentolate prevents the eye from changing to accommodate different distances. Generally, the pupil reacts when the patient looks at objects at varying distances, but this can impede the results of an eye exam.

By affecting the muscarinic receptors, the eye will temporarily stop adjusting to view objects at varying distances. This enables ophthalmologists to conduct a more accurate exam, particularly if the patient is being tested for short-sightedness.

Easy to administer, Cyclopentolate solution begins working fairly quickly, which means that the patient doesn't usually have to attend any prior preparatory appointments before their examination.

When using Cyclopentolate solution, ophthalmologists can carry out a thorough examination, check the patient's eye-health and provide a more accurate prescription for glasses or contact lenses, if they are required.

Conditions Treated

  • Encourages pupil dilation

Type of Medicine

  • Anticholinergic

Side Effects

Although Cyclopentolate is not associated with a large number of side effects, patients may notice some adverse effects after the solution has been applied. These may include:

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  • Blurry vision
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Increased sensitivity to light

In most cases, these side-effects are relatively mild and do not last very long. Patients do not usually require medical assistance for mild adverse effects but, if they are concerned, they should certainly seek medical advice.

If too much Cyclopentolate solution is absorbed, patients may display increased side-effects. If patients display any of the following adverse effects after using Cyclopentolate solution, they should seek medical help immediately:

  • Unusual weakness, tiredness or drowsiness
  • Unsteadiness or clumsiness
  • Unusual behavior, including disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing people
  • Restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Confusion
  • Increased thirst
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  • Swelling of the stomach (mainly occurs in infants)
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Feeling full
  • Passing gas
  • Slurred speech
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Redness or flushing of the face
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  • Decreased urination
  • Hallucinations
  • Rash on the skin
  • Tunnel vision
  • Seeking halos' around objects
  • Eye pain
  • Decreased sweating
  • Tingling skin

If patients require medical advice regarding side-effects, they should contact their ophthalmologist or physician. If their condition requires emergency treatment, they should call 911 or visit their nearest Emergency Room for urgent help.

Patients can also report additional side-effects to the Food and Drug Administration on 1-800-FDA-1088.


Although Cyclopentolate solution is available in various strengths, it is normally used at a concentrate of 0.5% of 1%. For most patients, one drop of the solution will be administered approximately 40 to 50 minutes before their eye examination is due to take place. This gives the medication enough time to take effect and will enable the ophthalmologist to examine the eye properly.

If necessary, another drop of Cyclopentolate solution may be administered five to 10 minutes after the starting dose was applied.

While 1% Cyclopentolate solution may be used in adults, 0.5% solution is normally used on children and should always be used on babies or infants. As young patients can respond to Cyclopentolate solution with increased side effects, physicians will typically treat them with a relatively low dose and add another drop of the solution if it is required.

When administering eye drops, patients can simply tilt their head back and press lightly on their lower eyelid in order to create a space between the eye and the lid. Usually, they can administer the eye drops here and they will begin to take effect.

As Cyclopentolate solution is administered before eye exams, patients are not usually required to administer the eye drops themselves. Similarly, they will not have to calculate the appropriate dose before using the medication.

In most cases, experienced healthcare practitioners will administer Cyclopentolate ophthalmic solution before an eye exam. In addition to this, they will determine what strength of medication is suitable for the patient and provide aftercare instructions.

Used on an as-needed basis, patients are not usually prescribed Cyclopentolate solution to use on a daily basis or as an outpatient. As a result, patients do not need to be concerned about missing doses or administering a course of treatment when they are given this medication.

Potential Drug Interactions

As medications can sometimes interact with one another, it may not be appropriate to administer Cyclopentolate solution if the patient is taking certain other medications. Cyclopentolate is not usually prescribed in conjunction with the following medicines, for example:

  • Tiotripium
  • Donepezil
  • Oxymorphone

If patients are taking the above medications, physicians may use an alternative to Cyclopentolate solution or they may alter the dose so that the medicines can be used at the same time.

Before undergoing an eye exam with Cyclopentolate solution, patients should inform their physician if they are taking any other medications. This includes over-the-counter medicines, supplements and/or vitamins.


Although Cyclopentolate solution is suitable for many patients, it may not be an appropriate form of medication for patients with certain conditions. If patients have any of the following conditions, Cyclopentolate may not be administered prior to an eye examination:

  • Spastic paralysis (in children)
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  • Down's syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Brain damage (in children)

Before undergoing an eye exam or having Cyclopentolate solution administered, patients should discuss their medical history with their ophthalmologist and/or physician. This will enable their doctor to confirm that Cyclopentolate solution is safe and appropriate for use.

Older patients can be particularly susceptible to the effects of Cyclopentolate solution. Due to this, they may experience increased side effects after the solution has been administered. Typically, physicians will administer a relatively small dose of Cyclopentolate to geriatric patients and increase the dose if the medication is tolerated well and it is required.

Although young children and infants are routinely given Cyclopentolate solution before eye exams, they may be more likely to experience side effects. Cyclopentolate solution seems to cause side effects more often in children with light colored hair and/or blue eyes.

If infants or children are given Cyclopentolate solution, they should be observed afterward so that any side effects are noted immediately. If they begin to display any of the following symptoms, medical help should be sought:

  • Speech problems
  • Confusion
  • Bloating
  • Feeding problems
  • Changes in behavior
  • Loss of coordination
  • Feeling excited and/or restless

As Cyclopentolate solution can cause feeding problems in infants, parents and guardians are normally advised to wait approximately four hours to feed the child after Cyclopentolate solution has been administered.

If young patients are due to receive Cyclopentolate solution, their healthcare practitioner should discuss the risks and possible side effects with their parents and/or guardians before their examination is due to take place.

It is not yet known if Cyclopentolate solution can harm an unborn fetus if it is used by a pregnant patient. If patients are pregnant, they should inform their ophthalmologist and/or physician before the solution is administered, so that the potential risks can be assessed.

In addition to this, it is not clear whether Cyclopentolate can be passed on to an infant via breastfeeding. If the patient is breastfeeding, they should notify their ophthalmologist and/or physician before being treated with Cyclopentolate solution. If treatment is due to go ahead, the potential risks should be discussed with the patient before Cyclopentolate is used.

After Cyclopentolate solution has been applied, patients may find that their vision is somewhat blurry. This is particularly common when patients try and view objects which are close to them. Although this is temporary and is caused by the medication, it may last for 24 hours. In rare cases, patients may find that their vision is blurred for a few days following treatment with Cyclopentolate solution.

Due to this, patients should not drive, operate heavy machinery or carry out important tasks while their vision is affected. In addition to this, patients may be unable to walk around outside or in unfamiliar areas without assistance, as their vision may be subject to temporary changes. Patients may be advised to bring someone else with them to their eye examination so that they can provide assistance in getting the patient home safely.

Before receiving Cyclopentolate solution, patients will need to inform their ophthalmologist and/or physician if they have any existing allergies. While they should highlight any allergies to medicines, they should also inform them of any other allergies, such as allergies to animals, foods and/or preservatives.

Although it is rare, patients can sometimes develop an allergic reaction to Cyclopentolate solution. Often, reactions are displayed as wheezing, difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face, throat and/or lips, and itching. If patients display any of these symptoms after Cyclopentolate solution is administered, they should seek immediate medical attention. Allergic reactions should be considered a medical emergency so it's vital that patients access urgent help if they suspect they are experiencing a reaction to the solution.


Generally, Cyclopentolate ophthalmic solution can be kept at room temperature, but it will need to be kept in a location which is free from moisture, heat and/or direct light.

As Cyclopentolate solution is normally applied in a clinical setting, it is not usually prescribed for home use. Due to this, Cyclopentolate will be stored and monitored by healthcare professionals and patients are not likely to have to keep the medication at home.


Unlike many ophthalmic solutions, Cyclopentolate doesn't have to be applied regularly, or on a daily basis. Rather than being used to treat existing conditions, Cyclopentolate solution is used to facilitate eye exams and is, therefore, more useful in the diagnostic process.

When ophthalmologists carry out eye exams on patients, they need to induce pupil dilation so that the patient's vision and eye health can be properly assessed. In addition to this, they may need to temporarily change the way that the eye works so that they're able to perform a fully comprehensive examination.

Cyclopentolate solution allows them to do just that. By dilating the pupils and changing the way the patient's eyes adapt to certain distances, Cyclopentolate ensures that thorough eye exams can be carried out and used for diagnostic purposes. Suitable for use on infants, adults and geriatric patients, Cyclopentolate solution is routinely used and is well tolerated by the vast majority of patients.