test

SCROLL DOWN

Prescription Drugs: What ones are damaging your eyes?

Learn more about vision correction

13
May
2016

doctor prescriptionWhat prescription drugs could be harming our vision?

For many years there has been speculation over the side effects of major drugs around the world. Whilst adverse reactions to medical prescription are rare, they can and do appear for some of us, especially when drugs are taken for extended periods of time.

The below common medications are linked to side effects including vision problems. It’s worth checking out any medication you are given, and always inform your physician if you notice any changes in your health after starting your course.

bloodshot eyesNSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs including Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium, Aspirin and more)

Side effects resulting from long term use of NSAIDS can cause a range of eye problems including dry eyes, retinal haemorrhages (bloodshot eyes), cataracts (clouded lenses) and glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyes).

Dry eyes are usually treated with eye drops. Similarly, if glaucoma is detected early, it can be treated with medicated eye drops. More advanced stages are treated with laser surgery or microsurgery. Cataracts get progressively worse and require surgery to replace the lens.  Mild cases of retinal haemorrhages can go undetected for a number of years and often reabsorb themselves, however more severe cases can cause severe vision impairment and can be treated by laser eye surgery.

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine sulfate)

Plaquenil is a prescription routinely given for rheumatoid arthritis and also for the prevention and treatment of malaria. Although rare (1 in every 5,000 people taking the drug for 5+ years), plaquenil can cause retinal damage known as hydroxychloroquine retinopathy. This condition can arise when taking hydroxychloroquine for 5+ years and causes damage to the retina. Continued exposure to hydroxychloroquine results in progressive retina damage until vision is lost.

Retinal damage caused by hydroxychloroquine is generally reversible if caught early so it’s essential that, if you’re taking this medication long term, you inform your optician and keep on top of regular eye checks.

Cortisone steroids (Betamethasone – alphatrex, diprolene, diprosone, Desoximetasone – topicort, Dexamethasone – mymethasone, decadron, hexadrol, Fluocinonide – lidex-e, lidex, Fluocinolone – synalar, and Triamcinolone – aristorcort, kenalog, triacet, triderm, Prednisone – prelone, deltasone)

Cortisone steroids are used to treat lots of different conditions including allergic reactions, skin conditions such as psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, arthritis and breathing disorders.
Prednisone is the most damaging drugs to the eyes of all prescription drugs. Extended use of any steroid based medication has been linked to causing glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve and cataracts. Glaucoma is the build-up of pressure within the eye, which can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

Glaucoma can be treated if caught early enough. Unfortunately, cataracts get progressively worse and can only be treated by surgery. It’s important that you inform your doctor of any changes, and inform your optician if taking any steroid based medication for extended periods of time.

Antidepressants (amitriptyline, tri-cyclic, Cymbalta, Prozac – fluoxetine)

blurred visionAntidepressants are a prescription for depression and in some instances for bowel disorders such as IBS. A recent study showed a significant short term rise in intraocular pressure after a single oral dose of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac), though pressure within the eye tends to settle again after the treatment course ends.

Prozac has also been linked with double vision, dilated pupils, dry eyes and blurred vision – these are regarded as ‘normal side effects’. If you experience any side effects, you should consult with your physician immediately.

Heparin, warfarin, coumadin, anisindione, and other oral anti-coagulants

Anti-coagulants are prescribed to prevent blood from clotting or to break up clots already formed in veins, arteries or lungs. They are commonly known as blood thinners, though they don’t actually thin the blood.  Anti-coagulants can sometimes cause subconjunctival haemorrhages. Subconjunctival haemorrhages range from a small red dot in the white of the eye, to all of the white of the eye becoming bloodshot / dark red colour.

Subconjunctival haemorrhages usually clear up themselves within 10 days without the need of medication, however sufferers should seek medical advice should the eyes become painful, sensitive to light or if vision decreases.

Sulfa antibiotics such as sulfamethoxazole (with trimethoprim) (bactrim, cotrim, septra), sulfisoxazole (gantrisin)

Sulfa Antibiotics, also known as sulphonamides, are commonly prescribed antibiotics used to treat a range of bacterial infections.
Sulfa antibiotics are linked to inducing angle-closure glaucoma, which is where pressure rapidly builds in the eye. It has been reported that only patients with narrow or wide open angles are susceptible to this rare reaction and it usually occurs within the first several doses (if at all).

Accutane (isotretinoin)

Accutane, the brand name for a drug called Isotretinoin is a common medication prescribed to people with acne. It has been well documented that people taking Accutane can experience nyctalopia (night blindness), although it was considered a rare side effect. Night blindness is where you lose the ability to see clearly in low lighting.  A recent study (March 2016) found that of the 27,841 people surveyed who take Accutane, 348 people experienced night blindness. This equates to 1.25%, making it more common than previously thought.

According to HealthLine, Isotretinoin can also cause your eyes to produce more tears than normal.  If you wear contact lenses, you may find yourself struggling with them whilst taking this medication.

In some instances, vision is restored once Accutane is no longer taken, however some people can experience permanent vision loss. It is imperative that if you experience any side effects or notice any changes once starting a course of medication that you contact your physician.

Antihistamines hayfever

Antihistamines are available over the counter in most pharmacies and most food shops. They are used to treat mild to moderate allergic reactions such as insect bites, rashes and hayfever. Whilst being widely accepted and safe to take, antihistamines commonly cause eyes to feel dry. This is because they are designed to dry the mucous in your nose, which in turn dries other mucous membranes such as those in your eye. Light sensitivity is another common side effect, and more rarely, changes in pupil size.

Symptoms usually stop once the antihistamines have stopped being taken. You should report any adverse reactions or changes to your pharmacist or physician.

Birth Control tablets / Oral contraceptive pills / ‘the pill’

Millions of women across the world take birth control tablets to stop ovulation / prevent pregnancy or to ease period intensity. Contraceptive prescription are commonly linked to an increase in migraine type headaches and dry eyes. More rarely, the pill has been linked to issues with seeing colour properly.

No permanent damage is done and symptoms ease once the contraceptive pill has stopped being taken. It’s worth speaking with your physician if you experience any of these side effects as they may suggest changing the pill you take.

Erectile dysfunction drugs (EDDs) – vardenafil hydrocholoride (Levitra), tadalafil (Cialis), and sildenafil citrate (Viagra)

Light sensitivity and vision hazes are commonly reported side effects of EDDs. Although very rare, erectile dysfunction drugs have been controversially associated with optic neuropathy NAION (damage to the optic nerve resulting is irreversible vision loss). However, Viagra supplier Pfizer claims the link of men taking EDDs and suffering with optic neuropathy is purely coincidental and not related to their tablets. A prospective study looking into the possible association is currently underway.

In most cases, patients taking these tablets experience no adverse ocular symptoms, and patients who do develop NAION often have a history of vascular disorders such as stroke, myocardial infarction, hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia.

Whilst many of the above side effects are not common, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible if you see a difference in your vision after taking medication.


Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/acne/accutane-side-effects#serious-side-effects3

https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/factsaboutdryeye.pdf

For more posts on eye health, laser eye surgery and vision, click here.

By: David

If you are interested in vision correction at Focus Clinic please call us on 0207 307 8250 and book a free consultation.

Book your FREE consultation
Related Articles
  • tetris improves vision

    TETRIS improves vision?

    Many people believe that computer games can be detrimental to your vision, but surprisingly the addictive puzzle game Tetris can help to improve Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘Lazy Eye’. Amblyopia occurs when the nerves that connect one of the eyes to the brain develop incorrectly as a child. As a result, blurry or wrong images […]

    Learn more
  • aged 18-30 and need glasses for driving?

    Age 18 to 30 with driving glasses

    More and more people age 18-30 are being prescribed glasses, from the use of technology gadgets, computers and for driving. The most common reason for those age 18-30 and need glasses for driving and other distance vision problems, or who wear glasses full time is: Myopia, also known as short-sight You may also have astigmatism, […]

    Learn more
  • Hay Fever

    Hay Fever: Preventing Itchy Eyes

    Spring days are nigh, and for many of us, with the increasing pollen count, Hay Fever is looming. The oncoming bouts of itchy eyes and a runny nose fill sufferers with dread, so what would be better than to prepare for, and possibly eliminate, these symptoms before pollen terrorises them for foreseeable sunny days? It […]

    Learn more
  • woman watching tv

    TV Shows of 2017: What takes the crown as most watched?

    With blue Monday just a few days ago and many of us still in the throws of January blues, some of us may be looking back and reflecting on the year just gone. This time of year we see programmes crop up that look back at the highs and lows of 2017, and here at […]

    Learn more
  • english views

    The Best of English Views

    Here at Focus Clinics, we have collaborated with photographers from all over England to put together a photographic journal that showcases the Best of English Views today; in focus. From Yorkshire to Essex, and Norfolk to Cornwall, we asked each of the photographers to contribute an image of the landscape from their county that they […]

    Learn more
  • Focus Clinics Solar Eclipse

    How To View A Solar Eclipse Safely

    The next solar eclipse happens this year on the 21st August but our view of the phenomenon won’t be as spectacular as the one the people in the US will enjoy; the moon will pass in front of the sun making it as dark as night-time for 2 minutes during the day. What is a […]

    Learn more
  • what is astigmatism

    Smoking Yourself Blind

    It’s common knowledge that smoking is heavily linked to cancer and respiratory problems. What a lot of smokers don’t realise is that smoking is also linked to various eye conditions.

    Learn more
  • 15 foods that can improve your eye health

    15 Foods That Can Improve Your Eye Health

    Did you know eating certain foods can actually improve your eyesight, slow down aging of your eyes and keep your eyes in good health?

    Learn more
  • Brussels Sprout vegetables can help save your sight at Christmas

    Did you know brussels sprouts can help save your sight this Christmas?

    Did you know your Christmas vegetables could be giving you more than you bargained for?  New research has found that the famously unpopular, Brussels Sprouts vegetables could actually help save your sight.

    Learn more
  • pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery Despite the procedure being more than 25 years old, laser eye surgery is still regarded as a relatively new operation. The pros and cons of laser eye surgery can help a prospective patient decide if vision correction is right for them. Benefits and risks of vision correction It […]

    Learn more
  • synesthesia

    Synesthesia: The blending of the senses

    Have you ever looked at the number three and decided that its colour is red? Or perhaps you’ve been at a concert and the sound of the guitar you can actually feel on the side of your arm, whilst the vocalist you can feel on your right ankle? These experiences may be a sign you […]

    Learn more
  • 1920--1200

    City living and dry eyes

    An American study has found that city living increases the likelihood of suffering from dry eyes. Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition where either the eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears that are made evaporate from the eye too quickly. Lack of tears causes the eye to dry out which can leave […]

    Learn more
  • black

    What is macular degeneration?

    This is a common eye disease linked to ageing that in time will destroys sharp, clear central vision due to damage to the retina. The retina is the very thin tissue that lives at the back of the eye and contains the light-sensing cells which are sending visual signals to the brain. Sharp, clear, ‘straight […]

    Learn more
  • focusHeader-1920-1200-1

    Helping those who cannot see, with science

    Helping those who cannot see, with science Scientists from Cambridge University say that they have successfully managed to print new eye cells. These cells could be used to treat and cure certain types of blindness. this Bio-printing technology is the first step towards using 3D printer technology to create artificial tissue, and is currently being […]

    Learn more
  • using supplements to maintain eye health

    Using supplements to maintain eye health

    The eye is connected in more ways than one with the rest of the body. When a patient takes a form of medication or vitamin supplements for a systemic condition, ocular effects should be expected whether they are beneficial or risky to your eye health. Read the lists below for more natural approaches to maintaining […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_496226125

    Keep Your Eyes Open to Spot the Symptoms of Cataracts

    Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness. Estimates suggest that around half of people aged 75-85 have experienced some vision loss due to cataracts. Primarily a condition that affects the older generation, it can come on as early as your 40s. Rare cases of cataracts have also been seen in young children and even […]

    Learn more
  • baby vision

    Baby vision: The development of sight from birth

    Baby vision! Have you ever looked at a baby and wondered what they are seeing, as they look around their new world with curiosity?  It turns out that babies ability to see is perhaps not as strong as you thought, with it taking up to two years for their vision to fully develop.  Just like […]

    Learn more
  • short- and long-term effects of laser eye surgery

    What are the short- and long-term laser eye surgery effects?

    With any surgical procedure, including laser eye surgery, it’s important to address a number of principal issues and questions up front. Is it the right option for you personally? What exactly will the procedure involve? And – most importantly for many people – what can you expect the outcomes to be? What are the laser […]

    Learn more
  • 7 things to know about styes

    7 Things to Know About Styes

    Did you know that there are two types of the common stye, and they’re caused by a natural bacteria on our skin that we coexist with every day? What is a stye? A stye is a small and painful inflammation that appears as a lump on the inside or outside of the eyelid. They can […]

    Learn more
  • scallops

    Scallops: Not just extraordinary in taste but in vision too

    Most of us know scallops for being a tasty dish to order in a restaurant, and maybe some of us even know that they are originally in shells.  But these underwater clams are far more interesting than we may have thought, as their extraordinary eyesight continues to amaze scientists. Scallops: What do we know about […]

    Learn more
  • misleading low prices of laser eye surgery

    The Misleading Prices of Laser Eye Surgery

    Adverts can be confusing, especially when it comes to pricing, so when we hear of low price laser eye surgery is it really what it seems or is it too good to be true?

    Learn more
  • myopia epidemic

    The Myopia Epidemic Across The World: Which countries suffer the most and least?

    Over 80 million children are affected by the myopia epidemic and the economic cost is estimated at an annual $268 billion worldwide. What is myopia? Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error in your eye.  This means that the eye does not refract light properly to a single focus, which enabled you to […]

    Learn more
  • eye tests

    Eye tests needed before laser eye surgery

    What eye tests are needed before laser eye surgery? You will have a comprehensive set of scans and tests at Focus Clinic before you meet your specialist. These eye tests give a wealth of data on your eye health and vision, and help ensure you are a safe candidate to undergo laser eye surgery. The tests […]

    Learn more
  • Will I have dry eyes after lasik?

    What are floaters?

    Some people can notice a change in their floaters after having laser eye surgery, either a change in pattern or an increase. This seems to happen mainly for those patients with very high amounts of shortsight (myopia), eg -7.00 dioptres or higher. Also patients are paying much more attention to their vision, and the quality […]

    Learn more
  • Improve your eye health with simple exercises

    Exercises to improve your eye health

    Do you suffer from eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to bright light, tired eyes or difficulty sustaining attention? When your eyes get tired but still have some work to do, you can do a number of eye exercises to help improve your eyesight and take the strain away. Our eyes need regular exercise in […]

    Learn more
  • novelty contacts

    Novelty contacts this Halloween: trick or treat?

    Novelty contacts are extremely popular around this time of year and whilst we all want to have the scariest Halloween costume, it is not worth risking your vision by misusing these special-effects lenses. What are novelty contact lenses? Did you need a prescription to wear novelty contact lenses? If you are thinking about wearing novelty […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_343222016

    What is your eye colour telling the world?

    One of the most defining features of the face, your eye colour can also reflect some aspects of your personality too. Brown eyes? You’re seen as a natural leader. Green? One of the more rarer colours and seen as the sexiest of them all. Why do we have different eye colours? Eye colour is determined […]

    Learn more
  • smartphone

    Protect your sight on your smartphone

    Whether we are checking our social media accounts, messaging friends, navigating to an unfamiliar destination or playing games, most of us are never found without our smartphone.  In the UK, four out of five adults own a smartphone, an equivalent of 37 million people!  Across the world, Statista have estimated that by the end of […]

    Learn more
  • Colour Blindness: Symptoms & Treatments

    Colour Blindness: Symptoms and Treatments

    Do you have difficulty telling if colours are blue and yellow, or red and green? Do other people sometimes inform you that the colour you think you are seeing is wrong? If so, these are primary signs that you have a colour vision deficiency. Don’t worry if this is the case, as you’re not alone. […]

    Learn more
  • how to accentuate your eye colour

    Revealed: common causes of eye twitches

    Eye twitching is pretty common. A twitch usually occurs in the upper lid, but it can occur in both the upper and lower lids. For most people, eye twitches are harmless and will just come and go, but for others, eye twitches can last for weeks or even months and that’s when an eye twitch […]

    Learn more
Get in touch
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!
Reviews

Roger

16th Jun

reviewsListing-roger

'I wanted the best and believe I got it'

close
close
big close

Book a free* consultation

There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!

Would you rather speak to someone?

*Opening Times:
Monday - Friday: 9am – 6pm Saturday: 9am – 3pm

Would you rather speak to someone?

Call: 0207 307 8250

to arrange your free* consultation
There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Mr Samer Hamada
laser and lens eye surgery specialist
 Samar Hamada