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Why is it important to tell your Ophthalmologist that you are taking Flomax?

Flomax (tamsulosin) is a alpha-adrenergic blocker that is most commonly used for patients who have enlarged prostates and urinary dysfunctions. Flomax relaxes the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck making it easier to urinate. So how does this medication relate to the eye and our practice at North Toronto Eye Care?

It is very important for patients who are taking this medication to tell our doctors at North Toronto Eye Care before cataract surgery. Flomax has the ability to effect the pupils, more specifically the iris of the eye creating something called floppy iris syndrome. Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) occurs during cataract surgery, when the iris moves like a flag in response to the intraocular fluid currents in the eye. The iris moves towards the lens (the area where cataract surgery occurs). Surgeons must be aware of this condition to adapt during surgery.

The surgeon ususally does not ask patients to stop taking the drug before surgery as the severity of the condition is not linked to the duration of  tamsulosin intake. Tamsulosin can be found under a few different names such as Flomax, Flomaxtra, Contiflo XL, or Urimax. Its also interesting to note that though very rare, the medication can be prescribed to some women to help pass stones or increase urinary output. So remember if your taking Tamsulosin and your having cataract surgery, it is very important that your doctor is aware.

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