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Cyclopentolate is a medication commonly used during pediatric eye examinations that dilates the eye (mydriatic), prevents accommodation of the eye to different distances (cycloplegic), and blocks specific receptors called muscarinic receptors (muscarinic antagonist). Cyclopentolate is also administered as an atropine substitute to reverse muscarinic and central nervous system effects of indirect cholinomimetic (anti-AChase) administration.
When used in eye drops in pediatric eye examinations, cyclopentolate 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent is used to stop the eye focusing at near distance, enabling the ophthalmologist and optometrist to obtain a more accurate reading of the focusing power of the eyes. Brand names include Cyclogyl, Cylate, & Pentolair.
The drops take around 30–60 minutes to work and less than 24 hours to wear off (with patients advised not to drive a vehicle or operate machinery for the first 12 hours). The pupils become wider when cyclopentolate is administered, making the eyes more sensitive to light. Close objects (and possibly distant objects) will also appear blurred.
Side effects to cyclopentolate are rare, but can include effects such as disorientation, incoherent speech or visual disturbances during the 24-hour period that the drug has an effect. The side effects are more common in children.