Tropicamide
Overview
 
Tropicamide is an anticholinergic
Anticholinergic
An anticholinergic agent is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. An example of an anticholinergic is dicycloverine, and the classic example is atropine....

 used as a mydriatic. In Russia, it is used to some degree as an inexpensive recreational drug. When injected intravenously "the drug has severe psychiatric effects and brings on suicidal feelings."
Tropicamide is an antimuscarinic drug that produces short acting mydriasis
Mydriasis
Mydriasis is a dilation of the pupil due to disease, trauma or the use of drugs. Normally, the pupil dilates in the dark and constricts in the light to respectively improve vividity at night and to protect the retina from sunlight damage during the day...

 (dilation of the pupil
Pupil
The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black because most of the light entering the pupil is absorbed by the tissues inside the eye. In humans the pupil is round, but other species, such as some cats, have slit pupils. In...

) and cycloplegia
Cycloplegia
Cycloplegia is paralysis of the ciliary muscle of the eye, resulting in a loss of accommodation.-Anatomy:The iris is the heavily pigmented colored part of the eye. It has a contractile diaphragm in front of the lens with a central opening called the pupil...

 when applied as eye drop
Eye drop
Eye drops are saline-containing drops used as a route to administer medication in the eye. Depending on the condition being treated, they may contain steroids, antihistamines, sympathomimetics, beta receptor blockers, parasympathomimetics, parasympatholytics, prostaglandins, non-steroidal...

s. It is used to allow better examination of the lens
Lens (anatomy)
The crystalline lens is a transparent, biconvex structure in the eye that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light to be focused on the retina. The lens, by changing shape, functions to change the focal distance of the eye so that it can focus on objects at various distances, thus allowing a...

, vitreous humor, and retina
Retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

.
Encyclopedia
Tropicamide is an anticholinergic
Anticholinergic
An anticholinergic agent is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. An example of an anticholinergic is dicycloverine, and the classic example is atropine....

 used as a mydriatic. In Russia, it is used to some degree as an inexpensive recreational drug. When injected intravenously "the drug has severe psychiatric effects and brings on suicidal feelings."

Uses

Tropicamide is an antimuscarinic drug that produces short acting mydriasis
Mydriasis
Mydriasis is a dilation of the pupil due to disease, trauma or the use of drugs. Normally, the pupil dilates in the dark and constricts in the light to respectively improve vividity at night and to protect the retina from sunlight damage during the day...

 (dilation of the pupil
Pupil
The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black because most of the light entering the pupil is absorbed by the tissues inside the eye. In humans the pupil is round, but other species, such as some cats, have slit pupils. In...

) and cycloplegia
Cycloplegia
Cycloplegia is paralysis of the ciliary muscle of the eye, resulting in a loss of accommodation.-Anatomy:The iris is the heavily pigmented colored part of the eye. It has a contractile diaphragm in front of the lens with a central opening called the pupil...

 when applied as eye drop
Eye drop
Eye drops are saline-containing drops used as a route to administer medication in the eye. Depending on the condition being treated, they may contain steroids, antihistamines, sympathomimetics, beta receptor blockers, parasympathomimetics, parasympatholytics, prostaglandins, non-steroidal...

s. It is used to allow better examination of the lens
Lens (anatomy)
The crystalline lens is a transparent, biconvex structure in the eye that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light to be focused on the retina. The lens, by changing shape, functions to change the focal distance of the eye so that it can focus on objects at various distances, thus allowing a...

, vitreous humor, and retina
Retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

. Due to its relatively short duration of effect (4–8 hours), it is typically used during eye examination
Eye examination
An eye examination is a battery of tests performed by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or orthoptist assessing vision and ability to focus on and discern objects, as well as other tests and examinations pertaining to the eyes....

s such as the dilated fundus examination
Dilated fundus examination
Dilated fundus examination is a diagnostic procedure that employs the use of mydriatic eye drops to dilate or enlarge the pupil in order to obtain a better view of the fundus of the eye. Once the pupil is dilated, examiners often use specialized equipment such as an ophthalmoscope or fundus...

, but it may also be used before or after eye surgery
Eye surgery
Eye surgery, also known as orogolomistician surgery or ocular surgery, is surgery performed on the eye or its adnexa, typically by an ophthalmologist.-Preparation and precautions:...

. Cycloplegic drops are often also used to treat anterior uveitis
Uveitis
Uveitis specifically refers to inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, termed the "uvea" but in common usage may refer to any inflammatory process involving the interior of the eye....

, decreasing risk of posterior synechiae and decreasing inflammation in the anterior chamber of the eye.

Tropicamide is occasionally administered in combination with p-hydroxyamphetamine (brand name Paremyd), which is a sympathomimetic. The use of the sympathomimetic drug causes the iris dilator muscle to be directly stimulated, causing increased dilation. In the United States, the sympathomimetic drop most commonly used along with Tropicamide, is 2.5% Phenylephrine
Phenylephrine
Phenylephrine is a selective α1-adrenergic receptor agonist used primarily as a decongestant, as an agent to dilate the pupil, and to increase blood pressure...

 Hydrochloride (brand name AK-Dilate).

Side effects

Tropicamide induces transient stinging and a slight and transient rise in intraocular pressure
Intraocular pressure
Intraocular pressure is the fluid pressure inside the eye. Tonometry is the method eye care professionals use to determine this. IOP is an important aspect in the evaluation of patients at risk from glaucoma...

 in the majority of patients. It may cause redness or conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva...

 (inflammation) and also blurs
Defocus aberration
In optics, defocus is the aberration in which an image is simply out of focus. This aberration is familiar to anyone who has used a camera, videocamera, microscope, telescope, or binoculars. Optically, defocus refers to a translation along the optical axis away from the plane or surface of best...

 vision for a short while after instillation (care must be taken, and the patient must only drive when vision returns to normal). Tropicamide may, in very rare cases http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1325111/, cause an attack of acute angle-closure glaucoma. This tends to be in patients with narrow anterior chamber
Anterior chamber
The anterior chamber is the fluid-filled space inside the eye between the iris and the cornea's innermost surface, the endothelium. Aqueous humor is the fluid that fills the anterior chamber. Hyphema and glaucoma are two main pathologies in this area. In hyphema, blood fills the anterior chamber...

 angles
Trabecular meshwork
The trabecular meshwork is an area of tissue in the eye located around the base of the cornea, near the ciliary body, and is responsible for draining the aqueous humor from the eye via the anterior chamber .The tissue is spongy and lined by trabeculocytes; it allows fluid to drain into a set of...

, and closure risk must be assessed by the practitioner prior to instillation.

Tropicamide is often preferred to atropine
Atropine
Atropine is a naturally occurring tropane alkaloid extracted from deadly nightshade , Jimson weed , mandrake and other plants of the family Solanaceae. It is a secondary metabolite of these plants and serves as a drug with a wide variety of effects...

 because atropine has a longer half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

, causing prolonged dilation and blurry vision for up to a week. Atropine has less sting effect, but can be toxic or fatal if ingested in large quantities by children or adults.

Systemic side effects are very rare.
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