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Medications and Ocular Side Effects


Nearly every medication (either prescribed or over-the-counter), herbal supplement, homeopathic remedy, etc. has the potential to cause ocular side effects.

Ocular side effects are more prevalent than you may think. It is important to keep abreast of common side effects associated with your medications (including herbal supplements and homeopathic remedies), and discuss any vision changes with both your prescribing physician as well as your eye doctor. This will aid in the correct and timely diagnosis of ocular side effects.

Long-term use of medications at recommended doses may lead to ocular toxicity, as can drug to drug interactions. The eye is the second most common site to manifest drug toxicity, second only to the liver. It is no wonder that ocular side effects are so common. Ocular side effects are best managed by an eye doctor. With specialized equipment and instruments, an eye doctor can thoroughly evaluate your vision and eye health as well as ocular side effects.

Depending upon the medication, follow-up care will vary. Some medications require a baseline eye exam, and eye exams every six months thereafter. Other medications require imaging of the inside of the eye at regular intervals, visual fields testing, or color vision testing. That's why it is important to remember, anytime you begin a new medication it is prudent to ask your prescribing physician for a recommended schedule of follow-up care.

HEALTH TIP: At each yearly eye health exam be sure to provide an updated health history and medication list (include herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies, etc) as well any over the counter medications being used.