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Eye (Lond). 2002 Sep;16(5):562-6.

Changes in intraocular pressure following diagnostic mydriasis with cyclopentolate 1%.

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Moorfields Eye Hospital London, UK.



To assess the effect of diagnostic mydriasis with 1% cyclopentolate on the intraocular pressure (IOP) of patients attending glaucoma, medical retina and cataract clinics.


Levels of agreement for IOP assessment were determined and 95% of repeated readings found to be within +/-2 mmHg. The IOP of 83 cataract, 87 medical retinal and 100 glaucoma patients was measured with Goldmann applanation tonometry before and 45 min after dilatation with 1% cyclopentolate. Those showing a substantial (>10 mmHg) increase in IOP underwent gonioscopy to determine if their angles remained open and were medically treated to lower their IOP.


An approximately normal distribution of change in IOP following dilatation was seen in all three groups (mean change 0.4 mmHg (95% CI 0.1-0.8)). The proportion of patients with a rise of 5 mmHg or more in the right eye was 7% (95% CI 4-10%). Logistic regression using all right eyes, looking at age, sex, diagnosis, ethnicity, ocular medication, iris colour and lens status (phakic/pseudophakic/aphakic) as risk factors for a rise of IOP of 5 mmHg or more did not reveal any significant contribution. Correlation between results obtained for right and left eyes in the glaucoma group was lower (0.43) than for the other groups (0.66 and 0.72), but the extent to which the direction of change in one eye predicted that in the other was shown to be high. Two glaucoma patients with open angles developed a clinically important (>10 mmHg) sustained rise in IOP requiring treatment.


Individual variability in the effects of cyclopentolate on aqueous dynamics may account for the approximately normal distribution of IOP seen following dilatation in all three groups. This variation was in excess of that due to observation error alone. It is recommended that the IOP be rechecked after dilation in glaucoma patients with significantly damaged optic nerve heads. In medical retina and cataract patients, sustained clinically important rises in intraocular pressure following dilation seem rarer.

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