• Ocular health and vision side effects can be caused by:
    Prescription medications
    Over-the-counter drugs
    Nutritional supplements

Ocular Health and Vision Side Effects:

Every day across the United States, many people use prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, as well as complementary medications (nutritional supplements, herbs and herbal compounds, vitamins, as well as natural supplements dispensed by some practitioners) to control and treat a variety of illnesses and health conditions. Most people don't give much thought to taking these medicines until side effects occur.


Many medications, even commonly used medications, have ocular and vision side effects.

Medication Side Effects

Ocular and vision side effects caused by medications (prescription, over-the-counter, nutritional supplements, herbs, and herbal compounds, vitamins) are common. This is one of the many reasons why annual vision and eye health examinations are so important. Often times an individual assumes that vision changes are due to age, too much time spent working on the computer, not enough sleep, etc. and never give a thought to their medication and possible side effects.


Many prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements can affect structures and functions of the eye. A surprising number of common medicines and supplements can cause ocular side effects (adverse reactions). Ocular side effects can range from mild to serious; from temporary visual disturbances to permanent vision loss.


Recognizing ocular and visual side effects is important. These side effects can indicate toxicity with correlates to the body's ability to metabolize the medication.


Ocular and visual side effects can be caused by many commonly consumed medications used to treat:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines, headaches
  • Skin conditions
  • Ulcers


These are just a few conditions that are commonly treated with prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and supplements. In addition, oral contraceptives and synthetic hormones also carry the risk of ocular or visual side effects, as do many natural supplements.


Ocular and visual side effects are more common than you may think, and include (but are not limited to):

  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Blepharoconjunctivitis
  • Blurred vision
  • Cataracts
  • Change in color vision
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Corneal edema
  • Corneal neovascularization
  • Dry eye
  • Eyelid hyperemia
  • Glare
  • Halos
  • Iris microcysts
  • Keratitis
  • Myopic shifts
  • Night blindness
  • Optic neuritis
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Visual field loss


Medication by the numbers:

A Federal survey found that nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 take prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives or stimulants. And 16% of those drugs are misused.

An estimated 42% of Americans use herbal medicines or nutritional supplements.

It is also estimated 44% of all people in the United States take at least on prescription medication, and countless others self-medicate using over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

The eye doctors at Artisan Optics can discuss ocular and vision side effects, as well as provide monitoring and follow-up care for adverse visual side effects. If you take medication or suspect you may have ocular or vision side effects, please call our office to schedule an appointment.