457 words — 3 minutes read

Atropin - don't try this at home

One of these funny stories - looking at them retrospectively:

I have been wearing glasses since I was 4 or 5 years old. I’m so used ot them, that they don’t disturb me the least. Until now I thought that my two kids (aged 3 and 5) wouldn’t need glasses because we always had the impression that they had great eyesight.

But: My older son complains about headaches a lot - and that is a symptom of bad eyesight. So of to the ophthalmologist for a check with the two. And indeed - they have problems. The doctor want’s to do a more thorough check after a couple of days. In preparation for that, the kids have to have atropin drops applied the night before. Ever tried to give small kids drops into the eye?

It is fun… not!

Anyway, being the good dad I was, I decided to show them that drops in the eye are non-lethal. So I gave myself a drop into one eye. The fact that I didn’t start screaming, having fits or seemed to be dyeing somewhat conviced the kids that it might be safe to also get the drops applied. After two hours of talking to them, pleading, bribing, reading stories and god knows what else, it was over and I had them in bed.

Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t see well…

Atropin affects the eye ball by blocking the parasympathetic circular muscle constrictor tone coupled with inhibition of cilliary muscle, responsible for the accomidation reflex that facilitate near vision. Exessive use of atropin result in perminant dilation of the pupil and paralysis of the cilliary muscle. Thus, patients will develop far vision and they can not accomidate their lens to focus on near objects. Patient with Gloucoma can suffer serious intraocleur pressure due to the blockage of canal of Schlemm that drains the fluids from the eye. Atropin remains in circulation for 24 hours. Opthalmologists use Tropicamide because it only lasts in circulation for one hour.

Of course I didn’t know that. Actually, I didn’t know what the drops contained anyway.

So the next day I got up with one eye widely dilated, absolutely blurred vision and a gloomy mood.

I absolutely had to go to work. So I sat in front of my PC, wearing sun-glasses and developing an headache and getting tired.

I called the doctor and she almost had a laughing fit - and of course there is no counter medication to it.

Today, another day later, the eye is still wide open. I can slowly focus again with it - but now the other eye is acting up and I see everything as trough a haze.


But my surroundings find it funny… Oh well

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician