Mydriatica: Pupil-widening eye drops in eye or eyes

Mydriatica is the medical term for pupil-widening eye drops. An ophthalmologist uses mydriatics to dilate or enlarge the pupils of the eyes. In this way he assesses the back of the eye with the aid of, among other things, a slit lamp. But the eye doctor still uses pupil-widening eye drops on the patient for many other purposes. Various types of mydriatics are available. Usually, due to the special eye drops, the patient is temporarily bothered by light and looks blurred, but this disappears spontaneously.
  • Types of mydriatics (pupil-widening eye drops) used by the eye doctor
  • Objective research with pupil-widening eye drops in eyes
  • Glasses prescription
  • Eye surgery
  • Therapeutic
  • Various eye exams
  • Symptoms
  • Tips
  • sunglasses
  • transportation home
  • Complications

Types of mydriatics (pupil-widening eye drops) used by the eye doctor

There are two types of eye drops: Sympathomimetics stimulate the widening of the lens muscles. Parasympathicolytica have a different effect: They paralyze the sphincters of the iris, which means that the pupil is no longer able to contract. In practice, the ophthalmologist often uses these together by means of two separate eye drops or as a combination drop.

Objective research with pupil-widening eye drops in eyes

The eye doctor uses the dilating eye drops for different purposes:

Glasses prescription

The lens muscles relax thanks to the pupil-widening eye drops so that the eye doctor is able to accurately measure the eye for a prescription for glasses.

Eye surgery

Mydriatica uses the eye doctor for some and certainly not all eye operations because pupil dilation is not always desirable. By narrowing the pupils after eye surgery, no scar tissue forms in the operating area. After glaucoma surgery (trabulectomy or drainage implant), mydriatics help to maintain the shape of the eye when the eye pressure decreases; they thereby promote recovery. Just before cataract surgery, mydriatics are useful so that the surgeon is easier to remove the blurred lens.


Children with amblyopia (medical term for lazy eye) sometimes have to administer mydriatics. The eye drops temporarily cause blurred vision, which makes the child see out of focus because of the stronger eye. Consequently, the brain is forced to use the weaker eye. The eye drops must be done correctly and safely. The effects of these dilating eye drops often linger for longer, sometimes up to two weeks, but it is usually necessary to drip the eye daily. People with eye infections sometimes also use these therapeutic mydriatics. Atropine is the name of these long-acting mydriatics.

Various eye exams

An ophthalmologist examines the back of the eye (retina and optic nerve) in detail during an extensive eye examination via ophthalmoscopy. This is interesting for making a diagnosis and for treating eye diseases. He quickly notes that a patient suffers from glaucoma, high blood pressure (hypertension), macular degeneration, retinal detachment, diabetes and so on. The influence of high blood pressure on various eye disorders is potentially large.


The patient sometimes has a burning, stinging sensation in the eyes just after the ophthalmologist has administered the mydriatics, but the eye pain disappears spontaneously after a few seconds. The pupil-widening eye drops do not work immediately; this usually takes between twenty and thirty minutes. A patient with light colored eyes (blue, green or light brown) is more sensitive; the pupils dilate (dilate) faster than in a patient who has dark colored eyes (brown). Through mydriatics, a patient experiences that he is light sensitive (photophobia) and it is moreover difficult for him to focus on nearby objects. It usually takes four to twenty-four hours for the effects of mydriatics to work out. Sporadically, the effects persist for more than twenty-four hours, especially in a child. This depends on the patient and the strength of the eye drops used. In children, the ophthalmologist administers strong eye drops, while previously using weak mydriatics in premature babies and newborns. Complications develop faster with this latter target group.


Mydriasis (myriadial dilation of pupils in the eye) is created by mydriatics. Because a patient is troubled by the light because of this, he should take one


to minimize glare and light sensitivity (photophobia). In addition, the patient is blurred for some time by the pupil-widening eye drops. That is why it is recommended that the patient takes care of it

Transportation home

so he can go home safely. Photophobia and blurred vision are symptoms that only last temporarily and gradually disappear.


Due to the contraction of the small blood vessels, the eyelids and the skin around the eyes sometimes fade temporarily. This is not harmful and disappears spontaneously. Furthermore, eyelid swelling and red eye are other common complications. Side effects of mydriatics that have a longer duration of action (atropine) are fever, sweating, irritability, dry mouth (xerostomy), redness in the face, and a rapid pulse. As a result, the eye doctor may consider a lower dose. Sometimes atropine leads to esotropy (inward strabismus with abnormal eye position) or the esotropy worsens. Very sporadically an allergic reaction occurs after administration with mydriatics. Other side effects that occur extremely rarely are high blood pressure, confusion, hallucinations, an itchy skin rash and seizures.

Video: Animation: Dilated Eye Exam (February 2020).

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