"It's very important for people to be aware of what conditions they have, what medications they're taking, and how they may increase risk of certain eye problems," says Scott Greenstein, MD, FACS, instructor in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Most of these medicines are perfectly safe, and you never get into a problem with them," he says, but a small percentage can cause vision problems.
I've been going blind my whole life. I was born with choroideremia, a rare, inherited disorder that causes gradual vision loss. My doctors diagnosed it when I was 14, after my pediatrician saw small spots in my eyes. I had known I was having trouble seeing, especially at night, but at that age I didn't care. But then the doctors said, “You'll have a hard time in your 20s, a very hard time in your 30s, and you'll be blind by 60."
They were right. I am 49 now and almost completely blind, except for...
When taking a medication, be sure to tell your doctor about any vision problems. Catching problems early can prevent permanent damage to your eyesight. In some cases, your doctor may want to monitor your eyesight while you take a medication.
Below are 10 types of drugs that may cause vision side effects. This list is not comprehensive, so if you have any questions about a drug you take, be sure to talk with your doctor.
Isotretinoin treats severe acne that has not responded to other treatments. Vision symptoms may include dry eyes and a sudden decrease in night vision, Greenstein says, so be careful when driving at night.
How to prevent vision problems: This medication can cause a number of other serious side effects, so your doctor will monitor you while you are taking it.
"Glaucoma is a very common disease, especially in people over 40," says Richard G. Shugarman, MD, a member of the editorial board of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and voluntary professor of ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine. Glaucoma basically falls into two categories, open angle and narrow angle, he says. Most people with glaucoma have open angle, while a small percentage have narrow angle.