Generic name: atropine sulfate [ AT-roe-peen-SUL-fate ]
Drug class: Mydriatics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 17, 2022.
Uses for Atropine Care
Atropine sulfate eye drops is used to dilate the pupil before eye exams. It is also used to treat an eye condition called amblyopia (lazy eyes) and other eye conditions (eg, cycloplegia). This medicine works by blocking the chemical acetylcholine, which relaxes the ciliary muscle of the eye and causes the pupil to dilate.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using Atropine Care
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Use of atropine sulfate eye drops in children younger than 3 months old is not recommended.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of atropine sulfate eye drops in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Potassium Citrate
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Glycopyrronium Tosylate
- Secretin Human
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Brain damage or
- Down syndrome or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Spastic paralysis (nerve problems)—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
Proper use of Atropine Care
Your eye doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to. This medicine is not for long-term use.
To use the eye drops:
- First, wash your hands. Tilt the head back and, pressing your finger gently on the skin just beneath the lower eyelid, pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to make a space. Drop the medicine into this space. Let go of the eyelid and gently close the eyes. Do not blink. Keep the eyes closed for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the medicine to be absorbed by the eye.
- Immediately after using the eye drops, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.
- If you think you did not get the drop of medicine into your eye properly, use another drop.
- To keep the medicine as germ-free as possible, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface (including the eye). Also, always keep the container tightly closed.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):
- For mydriasis, cycloplegia, and amblyopia:
- Adults and children 3 months of age and older—Use one drop 40 minutes before the intended maximal dilation time.
- Children up to 3 months old—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For mydriasis, cycloplegia, and amblyopia:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
You may also store this medicine at the refrigerator.
Precautions while using Atropine Care
Your eye doctor will check your or your child's eyes at regular visits to make sure it is working properly and is not causing unwanted effects.
This medicine may cause drowsiness, blurred vision, or make your eyes sensitive to light. Wear sunglasses while you are using this medicine. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not drive until your pupils are no longer dilated.
You should not give this medicine to a child unless under your doctor tells you to.
Do not use other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of Atropine Care
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- Blurred vision
- change in color vision
- difficulty seeing at night
- eye pain or stinging
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Confusion as to time, place, or person
- decreased tearing of the eyes
- dry skin, mouth, or throat
- feeling of warmth
- holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
- redness of the clear part of the eye
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about atropine ophthalmic
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: mydriatics
- En español
- Atropine ophthalmic drug information
- Atropine sulfate (Advanced Reading)
- Atropine Eye Drops
- Atropine Eye Ointment
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.