Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Semin Ophthalmol. 2015 Jan;30(1):36-9. doi: 10.3109/08820538.2013.810289. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

The effect of mydriatic solutions on cognitive function.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Jones Eye Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Little Rock, Arkansas , USA .



Anticholinergic and sympathomimetic ophthalmic solutions are used for mydriasis. These solutions have well-documented systemic side effects despite their topical administration. However, no studies have been conducted regarding the effect of mydriatic drops on cognitive function. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect, if any, of mydriatic drops on cognitive function, including memory, concentration, and orientation.


Participants were randomized into two groups using the technique of permuted block randomization, and randomization was stratified by gender, age, and education. Participants in Group 1 completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test with undilated pupils, while participants in Group 2 completed the MoCA test with dilated pupils. Administration time of the MoCA test was approximately 10 minutes, and each participant could receive a maximum of 30 points, with a score of 26 or greater being considered normal cognitive function. Dilation was achieved in both eyes with a combination of tropicamide 0.5% and phenylephrine 2.5%.


There was no statistical difference between the MoCA scores of Group 1 and Group 2 (p = 0.65). In addition, MoCA scores were not statistically different between the glaucoma and non-glaucoma subpopulations within each group. MoCA test scores were shown to correlate with education (p = 0.004), age (p = 0.0003), and race (p = 0.03). Patients with confirmed or suspected glaucoma whom eyes dilated required 10.8 minutes to complete the MoCA test, while patients with no confirmed or suspected glaucoma whom eyes dilated required 8.5 minutes to complete the test (p = 0.02).


Age, race, and education were found to be the most important factors affecting cognitive function in this study. There was no significant difference in the MoCA test scores of participants with confirmed or suspected glaucoma and participants without glaucoma. There was also no significant difference in the MoCA scores of dilated participants and non-dilated participants as a whole. However, dilation significantly increased the amount of time required to complete the MoCA test among the glaucoma and suspected-glaucoma population. The results of this study suggest that physicians should spend more time with dilated glaucoma patients while explaining medical conditions and treatment instructions in order to ensure that patients have adequate time to comprehend instructions for glaucoma management.


Cognition; MocA test; glaucoma/suspect; mydriatic solutions; side effects

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk