When we go on a new medication, we are hopeful that our health problem will go away – or at least be better managed. We are not hoping for a whole new set of health issues. But sometimes, that’s exactly what we get all thanks to side effects.


Here is a list of common medications that have been shown to negatively affect the retina (in some cases). This list is not comprehensive, nor will every person taking these drugs have negative eye-related side effects.


If problems do pop up, it is often related to inappropriate dosing. Sometimes any visual impairment will go away once you stop using it; other times the retinal damage can be permanent.


So no matter what, it is imperative to make sure you visit your doctor and talk about any and all concerns you have with these medications and your eyes:


Acetazolamide (Brand Names: Diamox): This diuretic used for conditions like glaucoma, edema, and epilepsy can cause issues with the choroid, found right outside the retina


Chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine (Brand Names: Aralen/Plaquenil): Both of these drugs are immunosuppressive as well as anti-parasite medications, but they can damage the retina in certain doses


Deferoxamine (Brand Name: Desferal): This drug can help somebody with iron toxicity, but could potentially lead to reversible issues like loss of vision or night blindness


Digoxin (Brand Names: Lanoxin and Digox): Used to aid blood pressure and provide help for heart arrhythmias, this medication can lead to decreased vision, blind spots, or an increase in the color yellow in your field of vision.


Epinephrine (Brand Names: Adrenaclick, EpiPen, and Medihaler-Epi): This emergency medication for severe allergy or asthma attacks can lead to some vision problems – like blurriness – after use


Hydrochlorothiazide (Brand Names: Microzide): This diuretic used for conditions like glaucoma, edema, and epilepsy can cause issues with the choroid


Interferon (Brand Names: Betaseron and Extavia): Most often used to help multiple sclerosis, this medication can sometimes lead to various eyesight issues; vision loss is rare


Latanoprost (Brand Name: Xalatan): This glaucoma medication can come with a variety of eye-related side effects – from multicolored irises to reversible cyst-like areas on the macula


Metronidazole (Brand Names: Flagyl, Metrogel, Noritate, etc.): This antibiotic commonly used for vaginal infections and rosacea can lead to ocular changes that are reversible when the medication is no longer in use


Rosiglitazone (Brand Name: Avandia): Used to treat diabetes, this medication could bring edema and blurry vision to the eyes


Sildenafil (Brand Names: Viagra and Revatio): This common erectile dysfunction medication can bring about blurry vision, discomfort to light, or seeing everything with a blue tint.


Sulfanilamide (Brands Names: Avc): Commonly used for vaginal infections – from yeast or bacteria – this antibiotic can lead to ocular changes that are reversible when the medication is no longer in use


Tamoxifen (Brand Names: Soltamox and Nolvadex): This medication is used to both treat and prevent breast cancer and can limit vision and cause color blindness, though treatment doses are often too low for this to occur


Topiramate (Brand Names: Topamax and Qudexy): Often used for seizure and migraine headache prevention, this medication can lead to nearsightedness as well as glaucoma



Are any of these medications a part of your life? Do your family members take them? Make sure to talk to your doctor – particularly your eye care specialist – if you have any concerns about these medications. If you have any sort of eye symptom/change in vision whatsoever while taking these drugs, see your doctor immediately.





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