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What Medications Can Cause Blurred Vision

Vision Medications And Eye Exams

What causes blurry vision?

The medication-vision connection isnt always obvious, though, says Michelle Andreoli, MD, a clinical spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Andreoli practices at the Wheaton Eye Clinic in suburban Chicago.

Some side effects from medications are quite delayed, Andreoli says. Some medications don’t cause side effects for years.

People often mention problems during eye exams.

Patients will say, for example, I’ve recently gotten blurry vision, and I started on x medication. Could it be from that?, Andreoli says. I always tell my patients that if something seems new to you about your eyes, the safest way to know what it is is to see your eye doctor.

Certain classes of drugs are known to cause eye problems. These include diuretics , antihistamines, antidepressants, drugs that lower cholesterol, beta-blockers and birth control pills.

Antihistamines often cause a very significant dry-eye syndrome, Andreoli says.

For problems like dryness or irritation, Andreoli recommends over-the-counter lubricant eye drops, just to bring the symptoms under control. If the symptoms dont go away, see your eye doctor, she says.

Long-term use of medications that promote dryness can cause significant dry eye issues.

NEED TO SCHEDULE AN EYE EXAM? Find an eye doctor near you and make an appointment.

How Is Blurred Vision Treated

Treating blurred vision depends on whats causing it. Treatments may include:

Eyeglasses and contact lenses to treat blurred vision

These products treat blurriness brought on by refractive errors and other causes, including cataracts.

Medications to treat blurred vision

Your provider may prescribe medications to treat the condition thats causing your blurry vision. The medications will vary depending on your underlying disease.

In terms of treating blurry vision from presbyopia, the eye condition that makes you hold your book farther and farther away from your eyes, your provider may prescribe eye drops, pilocarpine hydrochloride . This formulation is new and FDA-approved for treating age-related blurry vision.

Surgery to treat blurred vision

Your provider may suggest surgical procedures to improve your eyesight, such as surgery to remove cataracts or LASIK to treat refractive errors.

Medications That Affect Color Vision

This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise

Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses to some people means more than simply being optimistic: It could literally mean seeing the world in a rosy hue. Certain medications affect the cones — the color-sensing cells of the eye — meaning that you may see things in a different color that you’re used to. Conversely, you may also lose certain colors from your visual palette altogether. Drugs most notable for color vision changes include sildenafil citrate , digoxin , amiodarone , hydroxychloroquine and ethambutol 2.

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Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Diabetic Eye Diseases

The main concerns about diabetic eye diseases are vision loss and possible blindness. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in adults ages 20 to 74 worldwide.

Of the 285 million people living with diabetes around the world today, around one-third have signs of diabetic retinopathy. Of these, a further one-third have vision-threatening eye complications.

In the United States, as many as 40% of people with type 2 diabetes and 80% of those with type 1 diabetes experience some degree of diabetic neuropathy.

Another possible complication of diabetic retinopathy is a detached retina. This can occur spontaneously as scarring or new blood vessel growth displaces the retina from underlying tissues. A detached retina requires immediate medical care to avoid severe vision loss or blindness.

Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases include:

  • Having diabetes for a long time
  • Poor blood sugar control

How To Use Eyedrops

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  • Wash your hands.
  • If you wear contact lenses, remove them before using your eyedrops. The drops may make your vision blurred if you use them with contact lenses.
  • If you are using a bottle, remove the lid. If you are using the single-use dropper, twist off the tip.
  • Make sure the dropper does not touch anything including your eye, eyelashes, eyelid or your skin.
  • Use your finger to gently pull down your lower eyelid and tilt your head back.
  • Hold the dropper over your eye, look up, and allow 1 drop to fall into your lower eyelid.
  • Close your eye. Gently press your finger over the inside corner of your eye for about a minute. This helps keep the drops in your eye.
  • Wipe away any extra liquid with a clean tissue.
  • Repeat in your other eye if the doctor has told you to do this. There is enough liquid in 1 single-dose dropper to put a drop in both eyes if needed.
  • Put the cap back on the bottle or if you are using the single-dose dropper, throw it away.
  • If you use latanoprost with other eyedrops wait at least 5 minutes before using your other eyedrops. The second eyedrops can wash the latanoprost out and it may not work as well.

    If you wear contact lenses, wait 15 minutes before putting your lenses back in your eyes.

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    Here Is A Small Overview:

    Contraceptive pill Some preparations can cause dry eyes. Speak with your gynaecologist as it may be possible to get a different prescription. Such symptoms can be relieved with “artificial tears”, for example, with hyaluronic acid. This can be obtained at your local pharmacy.

    Antibiotics A few preparations can lead to vision problems and burning eyes and sometimes to heightened sensitivity to light. In very rare cases they can also lead to discolouration of the cornea. After the treatment with antibiotics is finished, the symptoms disappear again. Nevertheless: if you are experiencing such problems, you should consult your doctor. It may be possible to find an alternative preparation. If not, it is probably advisable to stop driving or other activities during the course of treatment. For sensitivity to light, wearing a good pair of sunglasses is certainly advisable and relaxing for your eyes.

    Allergy medication Anti-allergic eye drops often contain a local antihistamine . Antihistamine eye drops are very helpful for conjunctivitis caused by an allergic reaction. They can, however, cause red eyes, burning eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and increased tearing in a small number of people. Tip: consult your doctor to find out if there are other methods of treatment.

    Short-term treatment with cortisone preparations, however, does not usually cause any permanent changes to the eye.

    What To Do When Medications Affect Your Vision Health

    Sulfa drugs like Topamax® or certain antihistamines or incontinence medications like Detrol® or Ditropan® can trigger an acute attackEstimated Reading Time: 3 minsPrime examples include blurred vision, Vision symptoms may 2, delirium, though it can also lead to blurred vision and nausea, centrally acting antihypertensives, itchy and dry eyes, decreased vision and metamorphopsia, This medication tends to have, you could get dry eye: Diuretics Antihistamines Antidepressants CholesterolEstimated Reading Time: 3 minsMedication & Vision Problems 1, medication injections into the eye, Sulfonamide effects include watery eyes

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    Managing Patients Who Use These Medications

    Sometimes the ocular effects of these medications can remain for a few weeks after a patient discontinues use of the medication. For this reason, Dr. Riba recommends that ophthalmologists take a detailed history of recent and previous medication use. Its possible that previous medication use may cause eye symptoms that someone is currently experiencing.

    Ophthalmologists always ask about current medication use, and this can help guide treatment for patients experiencing vision changes, Dr. Riba said. For instance, if a patient is newly using an antidepressant or anti-anxiety agent or has had a dose change, wait before fulfilling their request for a new glasses or contact prescription if possible. They may have vision changes from the medication that will subside or stabilize within a short time, Dr. Riba said.

    For the most part, a thorough annual eye exam is enough to help detect and treat vision symptoms. If any eye symptoms occur such as blurred vision, red eye, eye pain, focusing difficulty, and double vision, the patient should have an eye exam sooner, Dr. Wang said. Annual eye exams should already be part of the care for concurrent health problems some patients with anxiety or clinical depression may commonly have, such as diabetes.

    In patients with these psychiatric conditions, I am more concerned about compliance if they stop their medications without the approval of their prescribing physician, Dr. Tittler said.

    What Causes Blurred Vision

    Can Xanax cause blurred vision?

    Blurred vision can be caused by eye conditions, including:

    • difficulty focusing your eyesight, such as with near-sightedness or far-sightedness
    • problems with the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy
    • an injury to the eye

    Blurred vision can also be a symptom of another medical condition, such as:

    Sometimes, blurred vision can be a side effect of medicines that you may be taking.

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    Eye Conditions And Medications

    What are some of the conditions that may be indirectly caused by common medications? And what are their symptoms?

    Glaucoma

    Steroid use can increase your risk of developing glaucoma. A study conducted in 1997 included in the Journal of American Medical Association found that there was a 40% increased incidence of ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma in asthmatic adults that needed 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma, is caused by clogged drainage canals, which can increase the eye pressure and damage the optic nerve. Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include blind spots in the peripheral and central vision, and eventually, tunnel vision.

    Glaucoma is tricky to diagnose because symptoms progress very gradually. By the time a patient begins to notice changes in their vision, the condition has already progressed to an advanced stage. Remember: while treatment can slow glaucomas progression, it cant repair the damage it already caused. As such, its important that you undergo a routine contact eye exam. Early detection through comprehensive eye examinations can help minimize damage to your eyesight.

    How often should you undergo an eye exam? The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that patients under the age of 40 undergo a comprehensive eye exam every five to 10 years, while those aged 55 to 64 should go see their eye doctor every one to two years.

    Cataracts

    Causes Of Diabetic Eye Diseases

    At the heart of all diabetic eye diseases are persistently high blood glucose levels. This can directly or indirectly cause damage to the structures of the eyes.

    The damage caused to one part of the eye can have a knock-on effect, leading to additional eye complications and/or accelerating the progression of pre-existing eye diseases.

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    Other Vision Problems Linked To Antidepressants

    One study found that the most commonly reported vision problems that were reported by people taking antidepressants were:

    • Night blindness
    • Vitreous floaters
    • Visual field defect
    • Visual snow syndrome

    Tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, and SNRIs have also been linked to acute angle-closure glaucoma. It is believed that the serotonergic and anticholinergic actions of these antidepressants lead to an ocular emergency.

    It results in high pressure inside the eye and the blockage of aqueous fluid from exiting the eye. It can lead to blindness if left untreated.

    Management Of Ocular Adverse Effects

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    Consultation with an ophthalmologist is recommended if a drug is suspected to be affecting a patients vision. Interventions can include screening before treatment, monitoring for ocular toxicity, reducing drug doses, or stopping the drug and looking for an alternative. Some ocular adverse effects such as raised intraocular pressure can be managed with medical or laser therapy. Cataracts can be managed with surgical intervention. However, some ocular adverse events such as macular atrophy can cause irreversible visual loss, hence the need to screen for damage at an early stage.

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    When Should You Contact A Doctor

    Eye and vision symptoms should always be taken seriously. The eye is a sensitive organ and prolonged eye health problems can often worsen or become permanent.

    A problem occurring for even a few minutes is often abnormal enough that you should contact a doctor immediately to make sure you dont need further attention. When it comes to the eye, it is better to be proactive and have a doctor examine it.

    Always treat severe vision symptoms, such as pain or significant blurriness, as a medical emergency. The paperwork provided with medication often lists common side effects and those that signal an emergency. Do not ignore a side effect listed as a sign of a potential problem.

    Whenever you are prescribed any medication, it is generally a good idea to talk with your doctor about what to expect. Some side effects may be normal but inconvenient, while others can signal issues that your doctor will need to address.

    Sometimes, this may mean taking you off your medication. Other times, it may mean lowering your dosage.

    Which Drugs Pose The Most Concern

    According to ophthalmologist Richard Gans, MD, a few stand out in particular, but you should always check for potential visual side effects with any new medication.

    Here are a few common culprits:

    Corticosteroids People take these for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, they can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and potentially lead to cataracts.

    Even an over-the-counter nasal spray like Flonase® comes with risks, Dr. Gans says.

    Antihistamines They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients risk for glaucoma. See more information below for those with particularly high risk levels.

    Antipsychotic medications Drugs such as Thorazine® and Mellaril® can be toxic to your retina.

    Antimalarials For example, Plaquenil used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis also has toxic effects on the retina.

    Dr. Gans notes there are other drugs that may raise eye surgery risk and other conditions, so talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

    And if you take a medication that comes with risk, be sure to have regular eye exams to make sure they dont damage your vision, he says.

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    Meds That Might Affect Taste And/or Smell

    ACE inhibitors : Benazepril , captopril , enalapril Possible effect: Diminished or altered taste

    Antibiotics: Ampicillin, azithromycin , ciprofloxacin , tetracyclinesPossible effects: Alteration or loss of taste and/or smell

    Antifungals: Terbinafine Possible effect: Possible loss of taste

    Antihistamines and decongestants: Chlor-pheniramine , loratadine , and pseudoephedrine Possible effect: Altered taste

    If Your Vision Changes See Your Eye Doctor

    What are the side effects of FLONASE® Allergy Relief?

    Whenever you start taking a new medication, read the label so you are familiar with the possible side effects that could affect your vision. If you are experiencing vision issues, it could be the result of a drug you were on but are no longer taking.

    Combinations of medications can contribute to a variety of eye-related side effects as well.

    When in doubt and any time you are experiencing changes in your vision see your eye doctor. The vision issue may be due to medications you are taking or have taken in the past, or it may be something unrelated.

    Dont wait to have your eyes examined if you notice any sudden or gradual changes in vision.

    Page published on Monday, September 30, 2019

    Page updated on Saturday, April 23, 2022

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    Medications That Can Cause Eye Problems

    These common medications can cause issues with your eyes:

    Alendronate is one of a class of medications called bisphosphonates that treat osteoporosis. It can cause blurred vision, eye pain, conjunctivitis and double vision.

    Topiramate treats seizure disorders, migraines and mood disorders. It can cause acute glaucoma, which can damage the optic nerve. Dilated pupils and other eye complications have also been reported.

    Isotretinoin treats serious acne and can cause several adverse eye effects. It can cause dry eyes, inflammation of the eye and eyelid and sensitivity to bright light.

    Amiodarone helps control heart rhythm in people with atrial fibrillation. It can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. If you take amiodarone, your doctor should instruct you to have regular eye exams.

    Tamsulosin is used primarily for enlarged-prostate cases. Tamsulosin can cause a side effect called intraoperative floppy iris syndrome, which can complicate cataract surgery even if you no longer take it. Tell your eye surgeon if you are taking tamsulosin and need to have cataract surgery.

    Sildenafil , tadalafil and vardenafil are all used for erectile dysfunction. They are known to cause blue vision, where everything looks bluer than it really is. They can also cause blurred vision, eye pain and light sensitivity. More seriously, they can damage the optic nerves in rare cases.

    Vision And Medications: What Medications Can Affect Your Vision

    Have you noticed vision issues like double vision, a blurry vision effect, problems focusing, or not being able to see clearly? Maybe your eyes feel itchy, dry, red, or over-lubricated with tears flowing out? If so, you will want to check any medications you are taking, as well as any new ones you have started.

    Both over the counter and prescription medications have side effects. Sometimes, these side effects affect our vision. Some side effects might be noticed right away after taking a new medication. Other times, the side effects take longer to present and might not show up for a few months or longermaybe even years!

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    What Are Some Conditions That Lead To Blurred Vision

    The following conditions may lead to blurred vision-

    1) Hyphema

    It occurs due to an injury to the eyes. The injury will cause the pooling of blood in the front part of the eyes, that is, in the anterior chamber of the eyes. Blurry or a blocked vision with a red tint is a classic sign of hyphema.

    Most hyphema cases can be treated with medicines alone. Topical corticosteroids are the first line of drugs for hyphema. The patient will be advised to limit eye activity and rest his or her head at 45 degrees to prevent blood from flowing back from the inferior chamber. Surgery will be required only in 5 % of cases.

    2) Detached Retina

    Retina is the layer present at the back of the eye. Due to age-related changes or an injury, the retinal layer will detach from the back of the eye and become devoid of nutrients and oxygen, due to decreased supply by the blood vessels. Blurred vision, the presence of floaters in the path of vision, and peripheral vision are the classic signs of a detached retina.

    In case of retinal detachment, the treatment option available is only surgery. The surgical procedures include pneumatic retinopexy, vitrectomy, and scleral buckling. All these procedures are aimed at reattaching the detached retina.

    3) Concussion

    If the concussion case is mild, the treatment will be mostly focused on limiting the symptoms. The patient will be advised to rest.

    4) Macular Hole

    5) Macular Degeneration

    6) Stroke

    7) Endophthalmitis

    8) Optic Neuritis

    9) Keratitis

    11) Uveitis

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