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J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 1986 Nov-Dec;23(6):273-6.

A comparison of the pupillary and cardiovascular effects of various mydriatic agents in preterm infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey 17033.


We conducted a randomized, masked study of pupillary dilating capabilities and associated cardiovascular effects of three solutions. Thirty-four babies less than 1500 grams at birth were studied at six to eight weeks. Group A (n = 10) received phenylephrine (PE) 2.5% and tropicamide 1.0%; Group B (n = 10) PE 2.5%, tropicamide 0.5%, and cyclopentolate 0.5%, Group C (n = 10) PE 1.0% and tropicamide 1.0%; Group D (n = 4) saline 0.9%. One drop was placed in each eye and repeated five minutes later. Pupillary dilation was measured with a metric ruler by direct observation at one hour. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored, using an oscillometer, immediately prior to the instillation of the drops and at five-minute intervals, for 60 minutes. BP and HR increased transiently in all groups receiving mydriatics but returned to baseline values in 25 minutes. This increase was significant in Groups A and B (2.5% PE: p less than 0.02). Group D (saline) showed no change in BP or HR. Postdrop pupillary size was largest in Group A but the differences were not significant. On exposure to bright light, the pupillary size in Group C was significantly smaller than Groups A or B (7.35 +/- 0.59 mm, 7.23 +/- 0.38 mm and 6.75 +/- 0.57 mm in Groups A, B and C, p less than .01). Nevertheless, dilation was sufficient to allow appropriate examination in all infants (pupillary diameter greater than 6.0 mm). Solutions containing 2.5% PE are most effective for use in LBW infants, but produce cardiovascular effects. Solutions containing 1% PE provide adequate dilation with minimum cardiovascular effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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