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allergy to dilation drops?
The last time that I had my eyes dilated, I experienced something like shock after the doctor put in the drops.  My vision was fuzzy, my head was ringing, I felt nauseated and like I couldn't move.  It went away after about 15 minutes and hasn't happened since (this was several years ago).  Is it possible to have an allergy to these drops that would cause symptoms like that?  (If not, I suppose I must have just been feeling faint for some other reason.)  Thanks for your help.
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233488 tn?1310696703
Its not so much an allergy as a 'bad reaction".   If you return to the same doctor ask that milder drops be used. If you are going elsewhere call the doctor that checked you and see if they will tell you what drops they used for your exam.

Most are either 2.5% neosynephrine and/or 1.0% topicamide.    Cyclogel 1% is much stronger, not needed in adults and often causes reactions like you describe.


JCH MD
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Thanks so much; I've never been able to get an answer to this question, despite having asked several doctors!  I appreciate your help.
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233488 tn?1310696703
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I also had a reaction to eye dilating drops and wondered what was in them that caused this.  I got very light headed and my hands tensed up and froze up in the open position, also I got very pale in complexion for about 10 minutes.
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233488 tn?1310696703
Same answer. Next time you have your eyes checked ask for a milder eyedrop.

JCH MD
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I had a similar reaction, and, in fact, I passed out. Next time I went to a different eye doctor and she suggested I may have an allergy to epinephrine. Actually, I later found out my mother has an allergy to epinephrine. The doctor was able to take pictures of my eyes which are apparently a decent alternative to dilation.
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233488 tn?1310696703
epinephrine is the same thing (for the purposes of dilating the eye) as neosynephrine. Usually 2.5% is well tolerated. Rarely is 10% used anymore.

JCH MD
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Today I went to the eye doctor & she dilated my eyes. I've had this once 6 or 7 years ago without a reaction. This time I immediately felt clammy, nauseous, then everything started to fade out. I was pretty sure I was about to pass out so I laid down on the floor of the office. When I got down there, I could no longer hear anything but myself speak. I'm guessing this isn't normal... what do you think?
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I've had this happen too. I pass out and vomit every time my eyes get dilated. The doctor told me that they have another patient with the same issue. They didn't say it was an allergic reaction but something that had to do with the main nerve in my eye that reacted to the drops, like something wrong with it. Few people have this issue. This was a long time ago and iforget what they said it is called
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I've had this happen too. I pass out and vomit every time my eyes get dilated. The doctor told me that they have another patient with the same issue. They didn't say it was an allergic reaction but something that had to do with the main nerve in my eye that reacted to the drops, like something wrong with it. Few people have this issue. This was a long time ago and iforget what they said it is called
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233488 tn?1310696703
There are only three drops used to routinely dilate eyes for exams:

1. Neosynephrine 2.5% and  10%   ONLY 2.5% SHOULD BE USED
2. tropicamide 0.5% or 1%
3. cyclogyl 0.5 or 1 or 2%

The most likely to cause problems is the cyclogyl    find out what drops are used and in future visits use a different drop or a weaker concentration.

JCH MD
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I went in for an eye exam and they gave me 4-5 drops in each eye (some have said that was too many) and that evening I became extremely tired in a strange way and when I got up I was dizzy.  I have been dizzy ever since and that was over 1 week ago.  What should I do?
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I went in for an eye exam and they gave me 4-5 drops in each eye (some have said that was too many) and that evening I became extremely tired in a strange way and when I got up I was dizzy.  I have been dizzy ever since and that was over 1 week ago.  What should I do?
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1932338 tn?1349223998
I had many Retina sp./ eye dr. visits the past 2 years and I finally "took control" and asked that my eyes NOT be dilated each visit unless absolutely necessary.

I told them I wanted to minimize the amount of chemicals that were put in my eyes and it didn't matter to me how the techs made it sound like these chemicals were basically like water and had no effects.  Sorry, but I wasn't buying that.  Chemicals are chemicals.

Anyways, found out that in my case the dilation was not necessary each visit so they agreed to either do an exam without the drops, or to use the mildest drops they had.  (see Dr. Hagans drop suggestions above)

I also had the eye pressure test with a tonopen done without the numbing drop and didn't feel a thing....so one less chemical in my eyes.

My advice is to ask BEFORE the tech puts the eye drops in...slow things down (as they grab them so fast you cannot even see the bottles). Have them tell you first exactly what drops and what concentrations they are using on you and write them down for your records !  If they say they use a higher concentration than what the MINIMUM Dr. Hagan mentioned, challenge them and ask if the higher concentration is necessary.  I found that in every case the lower concentration was acceptable for them to use on me and worked everytime.  They sometimes get used to using a higher concentration as the "norm" just to simplify their process, but not always in the patients best interest.
Finally, YOU AS THE PATIENT, HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE CHEMICALS THEY ARE USING IN YOUR EYES.  Shame on the offices that won't give you that information---don't give up.  
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I agree completely with this, and I had been more insistent when they gave me drops a few days ago.  I had asked what they were, and the side effects were, but the technician refused to tell me and said the only side effect would light sensitivity for a few days.  But not in my case - I had heart palpitations that night, and woke up in the morning with pain and stiffness all down my legs, and inflamed achilles tendon, and tingling throughout my body, as well as a headache and extremely sensitive eyes.  Four days later and the effects have not changed much.  I´m seeing my GP today and will ask her to contact the eye doctor.
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Thank you for that advice.  I did call and get all the information and had them put this  on their records.  This is a new thing to me because we usually get the retina pictures instead of dilation.  However, now that I am dizzy, do you have any suggestions to relieve this dizziness???
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1932338 tn?1349223998
I am sorry that I don't have any suggestions for dizziness, as I never really felt dizzy post dilation drops.
Good luck, and perhaps someone else will post their suggestions and experiences.
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I have SEVERE allergies to BOTH of the "normal" drops listed here,  The last time I had my eyes dilated, my whole face AND neck swelled up making it  IMPOSSIBLE for me to BREATHE, my BP bottomed out, I ended up in the hospital.  NEVER let a "medical professional" tell you there is "no such thing" as an allergy to the dilating drops (I have been told that by MANY Dr.s), IRONICALLY, by the Dr. just before I ENDED UP IN THE HOSPITAL, even though I told him I was ALLERGIC to the drops, he put them in ANYWAY.  ANYBODY can be allergic to ANYTHING.  NOW, I probably need cataract surgery, I guess I will just have to go blind, because blind is better than DEAD.
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Most of the comments above talk about an allergic reaction such as dizziness, nausea, fainting etc.    However I wonder if I have had an allergic reaction because the blurriness that the eye drops caused not gone away.   It is now 2 months later and my eyes are still blurred and I can't read things that I used to be able to 2 months ago e.g. emails/texts on my phone.    Has anyone heard of this kind of reaction to eyedrops used to test for diabetes?
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I am allergic to dilating drops and had to have cataract surgery.  They used the weakest drops, but had to use them 3 times.  I live 1 1/2 hours from the doctor's office and by that afternoon my head, neck, face, and eye was in severe pain.  The doctor called to check on me and I ask him if I could take benedryl and he said yes.  I took it for a couple days and everything cleared up.  When I go back for my second eye surgery, I will take my benedryl before leaving the doctor's office.  

Strange, but my sister is also allergic to the dilating drops.  I have dry eye syndrome and have my blood taken and a compounding pharmacy makes my eye drops for moisture.  What a blessing.....  Allergies are a real pain to deal with, but can be deadly.....
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