What Are Mydriatics?

Jennifer Long
Jennifer Long
The anatomy of the human eye includes the cornea, retina, lens, pupil, optic nerve, and more.
The anatomy of the human eye includes the cornea, retina, lens, pupil, optic nerve, and more.

Mydriatics are a type of eye medication used to dilate the pupil. They are used during eye examinations and in the treatment of some eye disorders, such as cyclitis, uveitis, or iritis. The medication can also be used before eye surgery to help allow access to the lens, retina, or optic nerve. A mydriatic may also be used after eye surgery to reduce the formation of scar tissue on the eye.

Mydriatics may cause irritability in some individuals.
Mydriatics may cause irritability in some individuals.

There are two ways that mydriatics work to dilate the pupil in the eye. These medications can paralyze the sphincter muscle, which is the muscle of the iris that contracts the pupil. A mydriatic may also cause stimulation of the dilator muscle of the iris, causing the pupil to be enlarged.

Uses of mydriatics include assisting in examinations and surgery and fostering healing post-surgery. In some cases, mydriatic medications can be used as treatment methods. For example, a lazy eye can be treated by using a mydriatic medication in the healthy eye, which causes the other eye to work harder to see.

Severe confusion and disorientation are serious side effects of mydriatics.
Severe confusion and disorientation are serious side effects of mydriatics.

Side effects of mydriatics include a redness or flushing sensation in the face, sweating, and whitening on the eyelids and surrounding skin. People may also experience stinging after applying the medication. Some patients may experience irritability and eyelid twitching.

There are also less common but serious side effects of mydriatics. These effects include confusion, high blood pressure or changes in heart rate, and an increase in pressure of the eye. Rash and itching in the skin around the eye are also less common side effects of mydriatic medications.

Mydriatics are sometimes used during routine eye exams.
Mydriatics are sometimes used during routine eye exams.

Changes in heart rate often occur in infants and children exposed to mydriatics. Heart rates can become abnormally high, leading to serious complications. If there is a history of any heart conditions, use of mydriatic medications should be carefully monitored. The increase in heart rate causes a decrease in blood pressure, which can be fatal for people with existing heart problems.

Side effects of mydriatics may include high blood pressure.
Side effects of mydriatics may include high blood pressure.

Severe confusion and disorientation is another serious side effect that should be watched for while mydriatics are being used. These medications are known to affect the central nervous system. Particularly with children, it is possible for mydriatic medications to cause confusion, seizures, and psychotic episodes. These and any other abnormal behaviors should be reported to the doctor right away. A doctor should also be immediately notified if trouble speaking or odd body movements occur, as these can be signs of serious interactions.

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    • The anatomy of the human eye includes the cornea, retina, lens, pupil, optic nerve, and more.
      By: blueringmedia
      The anatomy of the human eye includes the cornea, retina, lens, pupil, optic nerve, and more.
    • Mydriatics may cause irritability in some individuals.
      By: pressmaster
      Mydriatics may cause irritability in some individuals.
    • Severe confusion and disorientation are serious side effects of mydriatics.
      By: chuugo
      Severe confusion and disorientation are serious side effects of mydriatics.
    • Mydriatics are sometimes used during routine eye exams.
      By: FotolEdhar
      Mydriatics are sometimes used during routine eye exams.
    • Side effects of mydriatics may include high blood pressure.
      By: Rido
      Side effects of mydriatics may include high blood pressure.
    • Rash and itching around the eye are possible side effects of mydriatics medications.
      By: djtaylor
      Rash and itching around the eye are possible side effects of mydriatics medications.