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 ophthalmologist if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your ophthalmologist, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your healthcare 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. However, medications are rarely used in the treatment of cataracts; most patients decide to have surgery to remove the cataracts.
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 healthcare 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.
You should contact your ophthalmologist 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. Removing a cataract is rarely an emergency, therefore it should not be performed until you feel ready to have the surgery.
For eye drops, usually one drop at a time is sufficient. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how many drops you should use.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed November 21, 2013.
Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated August 31, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2009. Accessed November 21, 2013.
What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts/index.cfm. Accessed November 21, 2013.
What is a cataract? NIH Senior Health website. Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/whatisacataract/01.html. Accessed November 21, 2013.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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