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You might hear the words ‘drug’ and ‘eyesight’ in the same sentence and think, “I don’t do drugs, so this doesn’t concern me.” However, we beg to differ. There’s a lot about drugs and the eyes that go beyond the wrong use of medicines.

It’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, so here are some facts about drugs and your eyesight:

  • Drugs can affect the eyesight. Even over-the-counter prescription can have visual side effects that can be severe.
  • The effects vary. The effects range from temporary issues to permanent damage. So it is important to note any changes with your eyesight and get it checked as early as possible.
  • Some signs to watch for: when you start a new medication, note and report any eye pain, blurry or distorted vision
  • Areas of the eye especially vulnerable to damage by drugs are the retina (particularly the macula) and the lens.
  • Do not stop the medication yet. The doctor, once alerted, should be the one to determine: if the effects are caused by the drug; if the side effects are minor and temporary; and if a prescription change is necessary. The drugs were prescribed for a particular ailment so that has to be taken into consideration alongside the noted side effects.
  • Some common culprits: Drugs that can affect the eyes include corticosteroids, antihistamines, antipsychotic medication and antimalarials.
  • Wrong use of some drugs can cause glaucoma, cataracts, maculopathy, etc.
  • Any form of drug might affect the eye, including herbal drugs, so always apply caution with them.
  • People at special risk: People who have glaucoma and diabetes need to be very observant about changes in their vision when they take their prescription.
  • Avoid long term use of any drug without close monitoring from your doctor. Some seemingly harmless drugs can become sight-threatening when used over a long period of time.
  • Always read the warning labels. Especially for those who with glaucoma or diabetes. Read all labels on your over-the-counter drugs.
  • If you believe you are having eye problems related to your drugs, see the doctor. Don’t manage it because the prescription is for a short time. It is important to know if this is a minor issue and the eyes are not being damaged in the long term.

Your eyes are essential for functionality so take good care of them and contact us if you notice any changes in vision or need further counsel on ways to keep them healthy.