Tropicamide

Tropicamide is used to dilate the pupils before eye examinations or surgeries. Recovery of normal pupil function may take up to 24 hours.

Tropicamide Overview

Reviewed: October 14, 2013
Updated: 

Tropicamide is a prescription medication used to dilate (widen) the pupil and prevent the eye from focusing. It is used before examinations or surgeries of the eye.

Tropicamide belongs to a group of drugs called anticholinergic agents. These work by relaxing the muscle of the eye that causes the pupil to dilate.

This medication comes in solution form and is instilled directly into the eye.

Common side effects of tropicamide include redness, irritation, and sensitivity to light.

Tropicamide can also cause blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how tropicamide affects you.

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Uses of Tropicamide

Tropicamide is a prescription medication used to dilate (widen) the pupil and prevent the eye from focusing. It is used before examinations or surgeries of the eye.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tropicamide Brand Names

Tropicamide may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Tropicamide Drug Class

Tropicamide is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Tropicamide

Serious side effects have been reported with tropicamide. See the “Tropicamide Precautions” section.

Common side effects of tropicamide include the following:

  • increased pressure in the eye
  • burning in the eye
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurred vision
  • eye irritation
  • redness of the eye and/or eye lashes
  • dry mouth
  • increased heart rate
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

This is not a complete list of tropicamide side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Tropicamide Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • other eye drops that dilate the pupil such as atropine (Aztreza, IsoptoAtropine)
  • carbachol (Miostat, Carbastat)
  • pilocarpine (Salagen, Isopto Carpine, Pilocar, Ocusert Pilo)

This is not a complete list of tropicamide drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tropicamide Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with tropicamide including the following:

  • psychotic reactions and behavioral changes. These reactions are more likely to occur in children. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of psychotic reactions and behavioral changes:
    • incoherent speech
    • restlessness
    • hallucinations
    • hyperactivity
    • seizures
    • disorientation as to time and place
    • failure to recognize people

Tropicamide can cause blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how tropicamide affects you.

Do not take tropicamide if you are allergic to tropicamide or to any of its ingredients.

Tropicamide Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of tropicamide, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking tropicamide, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to tropicamide or to any of its ingredients
  • have or have had glaucoma or any other eye disease
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Tropicamide and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X - are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Tropicamide falls into category C. No studies have been done in animals, and no well-controlled studies have been done in pregnant women. Tropicamide should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

Tropicamide and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if tropicamide crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using tropicamide.

Tropicamide Usage

Take tropicamide exactly as prescribed.

This medication comes in solution form and is instilled directly into the eye. It is usually administered by a healthcare provider immediately prior to eye examinations or procedures.

Tropicamide Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication

The recommended dose of tropicamide for refraction is 1 or 2 drops in the eye(s), repeated in 5 minutes. If patient is not seen within 20 to 30 minutes, an additional drop may be instilled to prolong the effects. The recommended dose for examination of the fundus of the eye is 1 or 2 drops of 0.5% solution 15 or 20 minutes prior to examination. Individuals with heavily pigmented eyes may require a higher strength or more doses.

Tropicamide Overdose

If you take too much tropicamide, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If tropicamide is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Forms of Medication


Other Requirements

  • Store tropicamide between 8º and 27ºC (46º and 80ºF).
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.