Medications for Cataracts
by Rick Alan
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your health care provider if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your health care provider, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your health care provider.
Surgery is the only treatment that will cure a cataract. Eye drops may help control the symptoms of cataracts and help you see more clearly until surgery is required.
Phenylephrine or Other Pupil-Dilating Drops
Common brand names include:
If the cataract is small and central in the eye's lens, dilating eye drops can be used to temporarily control the symptoms of cataracts and help you see better. The eye drops cause the pupils of the eyes to widen. When using these drops, your doctor may advise you to:
Dilating eye drops should not be used with other eye drops unless your health care provider says it is safe.
Possible side effects may include, but are not limited to:
If you develop any effects from the medication, talk to your doctor immediately.
When to Contact Your Health Care Provider
You should contact your eye doctor and discuss having surgery for cataracts when your vision difficulties get to the point where:
Cataract surgery is much safer and more successful than in the past. Today some eye doctors and surgeons recommend having cataract surgery sooner rather than later, because delaying the surgery may make it more difficult to perform.
Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
USP DI, 21st edition. Micromedex; 2001.
Last reviewed October 2004 by Kimberly Rask, MD, PhD
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