Medically reviewed on Feb 19, 2018
What is atropine ophthalmic?
Atropine causes the muscles in your eye to become relaxed. This widens (dilates) your pupil so that it will not respond to light.
Atropine ophthalmic (for the eye) is used to dilate your pupils when you have an inflammatory condition or in postsurgery situations in which this effect may be helpful.
Atropine ophthalmic is also used in people with a condition called amblyopia (sometimes called "lazy eye"). Atropine ophthalmic can be placed into the stronger eye to temporarily blur the vision in that eye. This helps strengthen the weaker eye because the brain will force that eye to work harder to focus.
Atropine ophthalmic may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
You should not use atropine ophthalmic if you are allergic to atropine. You should not use the ointment form of this medicine if you have glaucoma.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to atropine. You should not use the ointment form of this medicine if you have glaucoma.
To make sure atropine ophthalmic is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Atropine ophthalmic can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 3 months old.
How should I use atropine ophthalmic?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use atropine ophthalmic in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Wash your hands before using eye medication.
To apply the eye drops:
Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip down. Look up and away from the dropper and squeeze out a drop.
Close your eyes for 2 or 3 minutes with your head tipped down, without blinking or squinting. Gently press your finger to the inside corner of the eye for about 1 minute, to keep the liquid from draining into your tear duct.
Use only the number of drops your doctor has prescribed. If you use more than one drop, wait about 5 minutes between drops.
Wait at least 10 minutes before using any other eye drops your doctor has prescribed.
Do not use the eye drops if the liquid has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
To apply the ointment:
Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the ointment tube with the tip pointing toward this pocket. Look up and away from the tip.
Squeeze out a ribbon of ointment into the lower eyelid pocket without touching the tip of the tube to your eye. Blink your eye gently and then keep it closed for 1 or 2 minutes.
Use a tissue to wipe excess ointment from your eyelashes.
After opening your eyes, you may have blurred vision for a short time. Avoid driving or doing anything that requires you to be able to see clearly.
Do not touch the tip of the eye dropper or ointment tube or place it directly on your eye. A contaminated dropper or tube tip can infect your eye, which could lead to serious vision problems.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep the bottle or tube tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and apply the next one as directed. Do not use a double dose of this medication.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if you have used too much atropine ophthalmic, or if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.
What should I avoid while using atropine ophthalmic?
Do not use atropine eye drops while wearing contact lenses. The medicine may contain a preservative that can discolor soft contact lenses. Wait at least 15 minutes after using the eye drops before putting in your contact lenses.
Atropine ophthalmic may make your eyes more sensitive to light. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes whenever you are outdoors or in bright light.
Do not use other eye medications unless your doctor tells you to.
Atropine ophthalmic side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although the risk of serious side effects is low when atropine is used in the eyes, side effects can occur if the medicine is absorbed into your bloodstream.
Children can absorb larger amounts of the medicine and may be more likely to have side effects.
Call a doctor at once if the person using atropine ophthalmic has:
severe burning or stinging of the eyes;
severe eye redness or irritation;
fast heart rate, restlessness or irritability;
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling); or
atropine ophthalmic will cause blurred vision that could last up to 2 weeks. This may impair your reactions while driving or doing anything that requires you to be able to see clearly.
Common side effects may include:
mild stinging or pain when the drops are placed into your eye;
mild eye pain;
dry mouth, nose, or throat;
puffy or watery eyes;
blurred vision; or
your eyes may be more sensitive to light.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect atropine ophthalmic?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
Although it is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on atropine used in the eyes, many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01.
More about atropine ophthalmic
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- Dosage Information
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- Drug class: mydriatics