Pilocarpine eye drops is a medication used to treat problems related to the eyesight or vision. The following HealthHearty article throws light on the usage, application, and side effects of this medication, take a look.
Pilocarpine eye drop is a drug prepared from Pilocarpine, a parasympathomimetic alkaloid extracted from the leaves of tropical American shrubs from the genus Pilocarpus. It is primarily used to treat various eye problems, especially glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition, in which, the optic nerve of the eye gets damaged, resulting in progressive, permanent loss of vision. It is a condition, wherein, the pressure in the eye increases, leading to irreversible loss of eyesight. Hence, to relieve the symptoms of glaucoma, pilocarpine drops are commonly used.
As said before, these drops are mainly used to treat glaucoma, a condition wherein the eye pressure is very high for the optic nerve to function properly. There are majorly two ways by which, this pressure can be reduced, either by slowing down the rate of fluid production in the eye or by increasing the rate at which the fluid drains out of the eye. The drops work according to the second method, i.e., increasing the rate of fluid drainage from the eye. They stimulate the muscles inside the eyes, which, in turn, pressurizes the drainage channels to help the fluid leave the eyes faster. This further, reduces the pressure from the eye and cures glaucoma.
Apart from this, pilocarpine is also used to reduce the risk of glare from lights at night, especially, if the patient has just undergone implantation of phakic intraocular lenses. However, under this condition, the patient should go for drops with 1% or weakest concentration of pilocarpine. It can be used as an antidote for combating scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine poisoning. Also, it helps in reducing dry mouth or xerostomia, a side effect, which most patients suffer from, after the radiation therapy for head and neck cancers. Pilocarpine works by stimulating the secretion of saliva and sweat in the body. Moreover, due to its sweat glands stimulating ability, it is also used to measure the concentration of chloride and sodium excreted in the sweat during cystic fibrosis (CF) diagnosis.
Wash your hands properly with soap and water, and then remove the protective cap. Do not touch the dropper or allow it to touch your eye in order to avoid any contamination or eye infection. Tilt your head backward, look up, and carefully pull down the lower eyelid to create a pouch. You can either use a mirror or take someone’s help for this. Place the dropper exactly over your eye and drop the prescribed number of drops. Gaze down and slowly close your eye for a minute or so. Meanwhile, don’t rub or blink the eye. If you need to repeat the dosage, wait for 5 minutes and then apply the drops. After using, instantly replace and tighten the cap, and do not wipe or rinse it off.
Although the medication benefits by curing different eye problems, many patients during the initial stages of usage experience temporarily unstable or blurred vision, especially after applying the drops. Initially some patients also experience headache, brow ache, stinginess, dizziness, etc. till their body gets accustomed to it. However, if you start experiencing severe change in vision, sweating, vomiting, eye pain, irregular heart beats, increased salivation or diarrhea, contact your doctor immediately.
The dosage mainly depends upon your eye conditions and medical history. If you are having any health problems like heart disease, hypertension, an overactive thyroid gland, seizures, etc. and taking medications for them, first, talk to your doctor about it and only then, if he recommends, start using these eye drops. Hence, do not start or stop taking the eye drops without consulting your doctor.