Flomax is commonly used to treat symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) in men and can cause complications with cataract surgery. The drug is used to improve urinary outflow in men with BPH.
Complications can be prevented, however, by identifying patients at risk before cataract surgery is performed.
Flomax and other alpha-blocker drugs are used to relax smooth muscle contraction in the bladder and other parts of the body. In men with BPH, the drug prevents contraction, or tightening, of the prostate’s smooth muscle thereby allowing the prostate to more completely relax. This allows more complete emptying of the bladder.
This results in Flomax decreases the need for men with BPH to urinate in the middle of the night.
Alpha blockers can also be used to treat urinary retention in women and can be used to treat hypertension.
Flomax and the Eye
The iris is the colored portion of the eye.
It is located directly in front of the cataract. In preparation for cataract surgery, the pupil should be fully dilated to give the cataract surgeon ample room to remove the cataract.
A small muscle called the iris dilator muscle is inhibited by certain alpha-blocking drugs such as Flomax. Alpha blockers block the muscle’s ability to dilate the pupil.
The condition is called intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS) and is characterized by a small pupil (making cataract surgery more difficult as it forces the cataract surgeon to operate through a smaller opening) and sudden constriction of the pupil during surgery.
Stopping Flomax, or other alpha-blockers, does not seem to reduce the risk of developing complications from the drugs. Also, do not self-regulate your medicines and we suggest you discuss any changes to your medication with your doctor before making any changes.
Cataract Surgery Made Safe
The key to successful surgery despite the use of Flomax is communication. In most cases, we are well aware of a patient’s use of Flomax prior to cataract surgery. When operating on a patient who has used Flomax (or other similar drugs), we can be prepared to use different surgical techniques and modifications to prevent any “surprises” during surgery.
In most of our cases, excellent results are achieved, especially when we are aware of your Flomax use.
During your consultation with us, or your own doctor, make sure to mention your use of Flomax or other alpha-blocking agents.
We look forward to seeing you. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, please give us a call.
Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director