Tropicamide (Ophthalmic)

Tropicamide is used for dilating pupils before eye exams and surgery, and recovery of regular pupil function can take up to a day.


Tropicamide is a medication that's used to widen (dilate) the pupil and stop the eye focusing. It's used before surgeries or tests of the eye.

Tropicamide is part of a group of medications known as anticholinergic agents, which work by loosening the eye muscle that makes the pupil dilate.

This prescription medicine is available in liquid form and is administered straight into the eye.

Some of the common tropicamide side effects include sensitivity to light, redness, and irritation.

Tropicamide may also result in blurred vision. Don't drive or use heavy machinery before you know how the medication affects you.

Conditions treated

  • Ciliary eye muscle paralysis
  • Dilated pupil
  • Dilated pupils (before/after surgery)

Type of medicine

  • Antimuscarinic

Side effects

Medicines and their potential side effects may affect different people differently. Here are a few of the medication's side effects. Just because one side effect is listed here doesn't mean that everyone using tropicamide will experience it or any other side effect.

Eye stinging, dry mouth, temporary blurred vision, and sensitivity of the eyes to light can occur. Should any of these side effects occur, let your pharmacist or doctor know right away.

Remember that your healthcare provider had prescribed tropicamide because they think that its benefits outweigh the risks associated with side effects. Many patients using tropicamide don't experience serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice that any of the following rare side effects have occurred: fast heartbeat, feeling as if there's something in the eye, mental or mood changes, and muscle stiffness.

Get medical attention immediately if you experience any really serious side effects, such as eye redness, pain, or swelling, vision changes (like seeing rainbows at lights at night).

An extreme allergic reaction to tropicamide is rare. However, get medical attention immediately if you see any signs of a very serious allergic reaction, such as itching or swelling of the throat, tongue, or face, breathing difficulty, rash, and severe dizziness.

The above side effects may not include all the side effects described by the medication's manufacturer. For additional information about other potential risks of tropicamide, make sure to read the details provided with the medication or consult your pharmacist or doctor.

Call your healthcare provider for medical advice concerning the side effects. You can inform the FDA about any side effects at or 1-800-FDA-1088.


Tropicamide dosing is different for different people. The following information only includes tropicamide's average doses. If you have a different dose, don't alter it unless your healthcare provider says so.

The amount of tropicamide that you use depends on its strength. In addition, the doses you take daily, the time between the doses, and the duration of taking the medication depend on the condition for which you're taking the medication.

For eye drops (ophthalmic solution) dosage form:

  • For eye examination (cycloplegic refraction):
    • Adults: A single drop of 1% solution, repeated one time in 5 minutes.
    • Children: A single drop of 0.5-1% solution, repeated one time in 5 minutes.
  • For testing fundus of the eye:
    • Adults and kids: A single drop of 0.5% solution 15-20 minutes before the exam.

Tropicamide is mostly used only in doctors' offices during eye tests. Below are instructions to follow if your healthcare provider has prescribed the medication for home use.

Don't take orally. Tropicamide is only used in the eyes.

Don't use tropicamide with your contact lenses on. Tropicamide may have a preservative that may cause soft contact lenses to lose their color. It's best to wait till your eyes aren't dilated before wearing contact lenses.

Wash your hands prior to and after applying the eye drops. If a kid rubs their eyes after tropicamide is administered, wash their hands after use.

To apply tropicamide eye drops:

Slightly lean your head back and pull down the lower eyelid to build a small pocket. With the dropper's tip down, hold it above your eye. Look up and squeeze out one drop.

Close the eyes for 2-3 minutes while tilting your head down, without squinting or blinking. Press your finger gently to the eye's inside corner for 1-3 minutes, to prevent the solution from draining into the tear duct.

Only use the number of eye drops prescribed by your doctor. If you're using more than a single drop, wait around 5 minutes after each drop.

Don't touch the eye dropper's tip or place it right on the eye. A dirty drop can cause an eye infection, which might cause serious vision problems.

Don't apply the drops if the solution has some particles in it or has changed its color. Call your pharmacist or doctor for new medication.

A tropicamide overdose is not usually dangerous. Seek medical attention right away if anybody has accidentally ingested the medicine.

Since tropicamide is only given during an eye test, it's unlikely that you'll be given a dosing schedule.

If you're following a schedule, take the missed dose immediately you remember. Don't take the missed dose if your next dose is approaching. Don't take extra medication to compensate for the missed dose.


Although some medications shouldn't be taken together at all, two different medications can be combined in other cases, even if there's a possibility of interaction. In other instances, your healthcare provider may want to alter your dose, or you may need other precautions. When you're using tropicamide, it's really important to let your healthcare provider know if you're also using any of the medications listed below. These interactions have been selected based on their possible significance and are by no means all-inclusive.

Combining tropicamide with any of these medications isn't usually recommended, but could be necessary in some instances. If your doctor prescribes both medicines together, he/she may alter the dose or alter how often you take both or one of them.

  • Tiotropium
  • Bupropion
  • Donepezil

Interactions with food, alcohol, or tobacco

Some drugs shouldn't be used around meal times or when eating some types of food as interactions can occur. Interactions can also occur after drinking, smoking, or using certain medications. Discuss with your doctor the use of tropicamide with food, cigarettes, or alcohol.

The presence of some medical issues may affect tropicamide use. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you suffer from any other medical conditions, especially glaucoma, Down's syndrome/mongolism in adults or kids, brain damage or spastic paralysis in kids (tropicamide can worsen the condition).


Before taking tropicamide, let your pharmacist or doctor know if you're allergic to the medicine or if you've got any other allergies. Tropicamide may have inactive ingredients, which may cause allergies or other issues. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before using tropicamide, tell your pharmacist or doctor your medical history, particularly your family or personal history of glaucoma (of the angle-closure kind), diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), heart disease (such as coronary artery disease, irregular heart rhythm), Down's syndrome, brain damage/spastic paralysis in kids.

After applying tropicamide, your vision can get blurred temporarily. Do not use machinery or drive, or carry out any activity that needs clear vision unless you're sure you can do these activities safely.

This medication can cause the eyes to be extra sensitive to light. In bright light, shield your eyes. When you're outdoors, wear dark sunglasses.

Be cautious when using tropicamide on seniors as they can be extra sensitive to the medication's effects, especially mood or mental changes (such as agitation).

Also be careful when administering this medication to kids as they can be extra sensitive to its effects, especially mental or mood changes (for example agitation).

During pregnancy, tropicamide should only be used when clearly needed. Talk to your doctor about the medication's benefits and risks.

It's unclear whether tropicamide gets into breast milk. Before breastfeeding, discuss this with your doctor.


Store this drug at room temperature of between 20-25 degrees C (68-77 degrees F) away from light.

Do not store the drug at high temperatures or refrigerate it.

Keep the container tightly shut.

Keep all drugs away from pets and kids.

Don't flush medicines down your toilet or pour into a drain unless you're told to do so.

Properly dispose of tropicamide when it's no longer needed or it has expired.

Consult your waste disposal service or pharmacist for more information about how to dispose of the medicine safely.

Store the medicine away from heat and moisture, at room temperature.

Do not freeze.


Tropicamide is available in several different brand names, including Mydral, Mydriacyl, Ocu-Tropic, and Tropicacyl. It's only available with a doctor's prescription. In addition, it's available in the form of a solution.

Use tropicamide only as instructed. Don't use more of the medication and never take it more frequently than your doctor prescribed. If you do so, it may increase the possibility of too much medicine being absorbed by your body as well as increase the risk of side effects. Be warned.

Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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