Oral Meds that Can Cause Dry Eye
(summary from an article entitled: Which Oral Meds Cause Dry Eye?” by Dr. Ernie Bowling, OD, MS)
Do your eyes ever water? Are they sensitive to bright lights? Do you feel like they are tired and red all the time? Believe it or not, these are all very common symptoms of dry eyes!!!
Dry eye is a medical condition that can be exacerbated by many common medications, most of which are available at your local drug store. These common medications are listed below:
- Antihistamines and Decongestants – this is a BIG one, especially in our great city of Austin! With the weather changing over night and allergies being rampant, many of us are at least on one, if not more, of these medications. These drugs are made to reduce drainage and dry the nasal passages. However, as a side effect, our tear production will also reduce, leading to dry eyes.
- Pain Relievers (Advil, Aleve, etc) – can cause dry eye as well as other signs like double vision and blurred vision.
- Anti-Hyperstensive – although there are numerous types of high blood pressure medications, unfortunately most of them cause ocular dryness. They reduce the levels of enzymes in our tears which help maintain tear production. So when on these medications, our eyes tend to produce fewer tears.
- Anti-Depressants – these medications are widely prescribed, across all age groups. Common side effects include blurred vision, over sensitivity to bright lights, and dry eyes.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – these medicates are prevalent in post- menopausal women and cause dry eye. Along with HRT drugs, birth control pills can decrease the moisturizing component in our tears
These are the most commonly prescribed medications that can cause dry eyes, but it is certainly not a comprehensive list. It is a good rule of thumb to assume that if your medication begins in “Anti-“(like antidepressant, antihistamine, etc) you can experience ocular dryness as a side effect. It is important to also understand that contact lenses are very drying to the eye as well. So if you are on any of these medications AND wear contacts, you need to be evaluated and most likely treated for dry eyes.
The doctors at Southwest Vision are highly experienced in treating dry eyes. We work with patients on an individual basis to determine the nature of their dry eyes and offer many successful solutions. We have the latest samples available in artificial tears and medications that are geared specifically for different types of dry eyes. We sit down with our patients and spend the time going over possible environmental factors that could be contributing to the dry eyes and begin with changing those first, then move forward with eye drops. Every patient is different and there is no “one way” to treat dry eyes.