Flomax ® is taken by most men for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). For several years, it has been implicated in causing intraoperative complications with cataract surgery. The study found that patients that took Flomax (tamsulosin) within two weeks prior to cataract surgery had an increased risk of serious complications after cataract surgery.
Tamsulosin is a type of drug that inhibits the function of certain types of muscle. This muscle is found in the iris. While the Flomax ® influences urinary output by relaxing the smooth muscle of the bladder and prostate, it also affects the muscles of the iris. A common complication of the Flomax ® is known as Floppy Iris Syndrome. The smooth muscle of the iris is inhibited by the Flomax ®, causing difficulty with dilation of the pupil. The normal turgor of the iris is changed and the tissue becomes “floppy.” There can complications with dilation and the iris tissue can get in the way of the surgery.
Common post-operative complications of tamsulosin include, prolapse of the iris (iris comes out of the incision), retinal detachment, retained pieces of the cataract and blinding infection.
There is now good evidence that Flomax (tamsulosin) causes complications during and after cataract surgery. This does not mean that cataract surgery can not be successful, but it is very important that you inform your doctor if you take Flomax®! If your physician is not comfortable operating on you, you should be referred to someone who is experienced with patients on Flomax ®.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist/ Retinal Specialist