Cyclopentolate Ophthalmic : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

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.

How should this medicine be used?

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 a 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 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:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. While tilting your head back, pull down the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
  3. Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
  4. Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
  5. While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that the drop(s) fall into the pocket made by the lower eyelid.
  6. Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
  7. Close your eye and tip your head down as though looking at the floor.
  8. Place a finger on the tear duct and apply gentle pressure for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. 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.
  10. Replace and tighten the cap on the dropper bottle.
  11. Wash your hands and if necessary your child’s hands after instillation to remove any medication.

Other uses for this medicine

Cyclopentolate ophthalmic is also sometimes used to treat uveitis (swelling and inflammation of the eye). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.

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

What special precautions should I follow?

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.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Call your doctor if you miss a dose and have questions about what to do.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Cyclopentolate 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.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • behavioral disturbances
  • fever
  • difficulty urinating
  • decreased sweating
  • loss of consciousness

What other information should I know?

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.

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.

Brand names

  • Akpentolate®
  • Cyclogyl®
  • Pentolair®
  • Cyclomydril®(as a combination product containing Cyclopentolate, Phenylephrine)

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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