Atropine drops are commonly used for the dilation of the pupil before eye examinations. The following article highlights the side effects associated with the use of these eye drops.
Atropine is a naturally-occurring alkaloid extracted from the plant Atropa belladonna that belongs to Solanaceae family. It is placed under a class of medicines known as antimuscarinics. Antimuscarinic agents are a type of anticholinergics that are effective against the toxic effects of muscarine. They block the muscarinic receptors that are present in the muscles of the eye.
Used in Eye Drops
Atropine is an antimuscarinic agent widely used in medications for the eyes. It is responsible for blocking the receptors in the eye muscles, that control the pupil size and the shape of the lens. When the receptors are blocked, the pupils become dilated, which prevents the eye from adjusting vision to near and distant objects. This helps in relaxing the lens of the eye and facilitates the eye examination.
These eye drops are used in the treatment of anterior uveitis, a condition that is characterized by inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body. These drops help prevent painful spasms in the ciliary muscle, and a complication where the iris can stick to the lens. The drops are also used in treating malignant ciliary block glaucoma.
The eye drops are considered safe for use and are often used in children and adults; however, some people may experience a few side effects. Atropine dilates the pupil and causes the eye to lose out on accommodation reflex. Although the effect is generally seen within an hour, it may last up to 2 weeks. This can cause blurred vision in the person using it. Other common side effects include sensitivity to bright light, irritation or stinging in the area of use, inflammation of the lining of the eye, swelling of the eyelids, lacrimation or watering eyes, redness and raised pressure in the eye.
The aforementioned side effects are mild and can be treated easily; however, there are some serious side effects such as fever, confusion, irregular or rapid heartbeat, and difficulty urinating. These conditions may require immediate medical attention. Irritability, hallucinations, unusual behavior, and swollen or distended stomach are some of the side effects observed in children. The eye drops may also cause allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, swelling of the face or mouth, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty in breathing or swallowing. However, these symptoms of allergy usually subside on their own, over a period of time.
Atropine may have interactions with some medicines. Hence, it is very important to inform your physician of all the prescription or non-prescription drugs that you are using. Drug interactions are quite possible with antihistamines, antispasmodics, antiarrhythmics, tricyclic antidepressants and phenothiazines. Hence, it is advisable not to use this eye drop with these drugs. Similarly, consult your doctor before taking any new medicines while using this one, to avert problems owing to adverse drug interactions.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.