Cyclopentolate Ophthalmic

Uses of Cyclopentolate Ophthalmic

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic is used to cause mydriasis (pupil dilation) and cycloplegia (paralysis of the ciliary muscle of the eye) before an eye examination. Cyclopentolate is in a class of medications called mydriatics. Cyclopentolate works by blocking certain receptors found in the eye to temporarily relax or provide short-term paralysis of the eye muscles.

Side Effects of Cyclopentolate Ophthalmic

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • stinging, burning, or discomfort in the eye
  • itching or redness of the eye

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • redness, swelling, or other symptoms of pink eye
  • problems with coordination (usually in children)
  • slurred speech (usually in children)
  • restlessness (usually in children)
  • drowsiness
  • hallucinations (usually in children)
  • hyperactivity and other changes in behavior (usually in children)
  • seizures (usually in children)
  • mental confusion (usually in children)
  • failure to recognize people (usually in children)
  • rash
  • bloating of the abdomen (when used in infants)
  • fever
  • difficulty urinating
  • decreased sweating
  • dry mouth

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before using ophthalmic cyclopentolate:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cyclopentolate, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in cyclopentolate solution. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: carbachol (Miostat) or pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine, Salagen). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have narrow-angle glaucoma (a serious eye condition that may cause loss of vision). Your doctor will probably tell you not to use cyclopentolate.
  • tell your doctor if you have Down’s syndrome (an inherited condition causing a range of developmental and physical problems) or have or have ever had angle-closure glaucoma (a condition where the fluid is suddenly blocked and unable to flow out of the eye causing a quick, severe increase in eye pressure which may lead to a loss of vision).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using cyclopentolate, call your doctor.
  • you should know that your vision may be blurred during your treatment with cyclopentolate. Do not drive a car or operate machinery if you are unable to see clearly.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to protect your eyes (e.g., use sunglasses). Cyclopentolate may make your eyes sensitive to sunlight.
  • you should know that ophthalmic cyclopentolate contains benzalkonium chloride, which can be absorbed by soft contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before instilling ophthalmic cyclopentolate.


Cyclopentolate comes as a solution (liquid) to instill in the eye. Your healthcare provider will instill the solution into the eye(s) prior to an eye examination.

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic may take about half an hour or more to fully work after instillation. Effects generally may last for up to 24 hours but may last several days in some people. People with dark eye colors may require increased cyclopentolate doses.

If cyclopentolate is given to a child, watch them closely for at least 30 minutes after instillation. Infants should not be fed for 4 hours after cyclopentolate instillation.

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic is for use only in the eye(s). Do not swallow cyclopentolate ophthalmic solution.

Be careful not to let the tip of the bottle touch your eye, fingers, face, or any surface. If the tip does touch another surface, bacteria may get into the eye drops.

To instill the eye drops, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • While tilting your head back, pull down the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
  • Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
  • Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
  • While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that the cyclopentolate ophthalmic falls into the pocket made by the lower eyelid.
  • Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
  • Close your eye and tip your head down as though looking at the floor.
  • Place a finger on the tear duct and apply gentle pressure for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • If you require a second dose in the same eye, wait at least 5 to 10 minutes before instilling the next drop(s) and repeat steps 1 to 8.
  • Replace and tighten the cap on the cyclopentolate ophthalmic dropper bottle.
  • Wash your hands and if necessary your child’s hands after instillation to remove any medication.


Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription of cyclopentolate ophthalmic.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.