How Does Ophthalmic Cysteamine Work?

What is ophthalmic cysteamine and how does it work?

Ophthalmic cysteamine is a medication for reducing cystine crystal formation in the cornea. Cystine is an amino acid that the body breaks down into cysteine to make antioxidants, collagen, and proteins that are in hair, nails, and skin. When cystine is not broken down due to any disorder, it can collect in the body’s cells and tissues.

Abnormal accumulation of cystine in the corneal cells can form crystals and damage the cornea. Ophthalmic cysteamine depletes the cystine crystals by converting cystine into cysteine, which the body can absorb.

How is ophthalmic cysteamine used?

Ophthalmic cysteamine is topically administered in the eye as a solution to dissolve corneal cystine crystals in patients with a condition known as cystinosis. Cystinosis is an inherited genetic disorder which causes buildup of cystine in the body’s cells.

What are the side effects of ophthalmic cysteamine?

Side effects of ophthalmic cysteamine may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness
  • Eye pain and irritation
  • Visual field defects
  • Blurred vision
  • Ocular hyperemia
  • Eye itching (pruritus)
  • Instillation site discomfort
  • Increased tearing
  • Ocular deposits
  • Headache

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some ophthalmic cysteamine drugs?

Generic and brand names of ophthalmic cysteamine include:


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