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Abstract

INTRODUCTION In light of expanding use of pilocarpine for numerous systemic disorders over the past decades, it is important to understand its effects on visual and oral function.

OBJECTIVE To study the adverse effects of topical pilocarpine on visual and oral function in healthy volunteers via interprofessional collaboration.

METHODS Thirty-six subjects, 21 years and older, were enrolled for the study. The study was designed to have each subject undergo tests for oral and visual function before and 20 minutes after a topical dose (2% ophthalmic solution), so the subjects served as their own controls.

RESULTS The sample included 24 females and 11 males with a mean of 22 years. The pupil diameter was significantly reduced post treatment with pilocarpine. The effect was larger in dim light than in bright light. Distance and near visual acuity were significantly reduced by pilocarpine treatment. Distance visual acuity under low contrast illumination and automated perimetry were significantly reduced with pilocarpine. Remarkably, salivary volume was significantly increased.

CONCLUSION In young normal subjects, pilocarpine adversely affects the visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual field and thus the overall visual function, but it positively increases salivary volume.

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