There are too many medications in the world to memorize every single one, let alone their side effects. These medications also have different brand names and generic names. There are about 100 medications which directly affect your eyes and about 20 that every eye doctor knows off the top of their head. Here are some you probably didn’t know affected vision:
Steroids: Steroids used to reduce inflammation can increase the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
Plaquenil: Plaquenil treats arthritis and can cause serious macular problems. The drug will create a “bull’s-eye” ring on the retina (back of the eye). At first, your central vision will not be affected, but as the diseases progresses you can actually lose your vision.
Birth Control: Birth control is one of the most common culprits for dry eye disease in women. Those who use the pill are also more likely to develop glaucoma later in life.
Tamoxifen: Tamoxifen is used for patients with breast cancer. This drug will affect the macula (layer over the back of the eye) and can cause early cataracts.
Topamax: Topamax is used for headaches and seizures, but can also cause serious fluctuation in vision and sight-threatening ‘angle closure glaucoma.’
These medications and others will cause an imbalance within the optical system that gives us clear vision. It is hard to know what dosages may cause eye problems, but primary care physicians usually know when to send patients out for baseline testing. The responsibility ultimately falls on the patient to inform their eye doctor of every medication they are taking.