The effect of mydriasis from phenylephrine on corneal shape

Ronnie Y C Huang, Kwok Cheung Andrew Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: A previous study reported that pharmacologically-dilated pupils changed the corneal shape. Researchers used mydriatic agents with significant cycloplegic effect. The current study investigates the effect of mydriasis on corneal shape using phenylephrine alone, where phenylephrine has minimal effect on the accommodative system and whether corneal topography can be done after pupil dilation. Methods: Forty-four young healthy subjects with one eye randomly selected for mydriasis were used in this study. Twenty-two received one drop of 2.5% phenylephrine (group 1); the other 22 subjects had one drop of 0.4% benoxinate instilled prior to the application of 2.5% phenylephrine (group 2). They were matched for age and refractive error. Anterior chamber depth, pupil size and corneal parameters were compared before and after mydriasis. The corneal parameters included best-fit sphere (BFS), surface asymmetry index (SAI), surface regularity index (SRI) and the axial and tangential powers in the form of flattest and steepest powers, and in the form of M, J0, and J45 vector presentation. Results: Group 1 and group 2 subjects had similar pre-mydriatic baseline ocular parameters. The mean (± SD) pupil dilation was 1.24 ± 0.59 mm for group 1 and 1.80 ± 0.95 mm for group 2. The dilation was significantly larger in group 2 (unpaired t-tests: t = 2.36, p = 0.02). There were no significant changes in corneal parameters from mydriasis in either group. Conclusions: Previous investigations used mydriatic agents, which affected not only the pupil size but also accommodation. The current study found that mydriasis from phenylephrine, with minimal effect on accommodation, did not result in significant corneal alteration, and corneal topography can be measured after pupil dilation with phenylephrine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Anterior chamber depth
  • Cornea
  • Mydriasis
  • Phenylephrine
  • Pupil size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry


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