Medications That Can Cause Dry Eyes

Amongst the various eye conditions, dry eyes are one of the most common and yet underestimated. Dry eye is a condition in which your eyes feel gritty sting burn and suffer from other symptoms of dryness. If you have been experiencing dried eyes, there is a possibility that the pills you consume every day are responsible.

Most people who take prescription and over-the-counter medications are unaware of the extent to which these pills drops and sprays affect their optical health by causing hydration in the eyes.

Dry eye is a chronic condition that is more serious than just a one time experience of dryness in the eyes, and it has been linked to the consumption of different medications ranging from simple over-the-counter drugs for flu to prescribe medications for heart disease.

For people with medical conditions that require the intake of multiple drugs, the chances of dry eyes are higher. These are a few of the medications that have been linked to dry eyes.

1. Antihistamine drugs

Antihistamine medications such as Claritin (loratadine), Allegra (fexofenadine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), and Zyrtec (Cetirizine), are prescribed to help prevent the effect of chemical histamine produced by the body as a way of attacking allergens.

These drugs are effective at reducing the discomfort that comes with cold symptoms and allergic reactions such as a running nose, itching, watery eyes, and sneezing. Unfortunately, these antihistamine medications have a side effect that reduces the thin tear film that was designed to keep your eyes moist.

The most intriguing part is dry eyes have very similar symptoms to an allergic reaction, so when you take some antihistamine drugs, you are fighting an allergic reaction by causing another similar response that will have you blinking and trying to figure out how drops of sand got into your eyes and made them dry.

2. Medications for nasal decongestion

They might be good at clearing up your nostrils, but not all of them are friendly to your eyes. Over the counter drugs for nasal decongestion are the first point of call when it comes to relieving cold and flu symptoms that make you uncomfortable.

Nasal decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose membrane here by reducing blood flow to the swollen nasal tissues I’m making it easy to breathe with a blocked up nose.

Nasal decongestants come in the form of sprays liquids and tablets, and most of them contain pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, and oxymetazoline that are notorious for reducing the production of tears like antihistamines.

3. Drugs to lower blood pressure

People who suffer from high blood pressure and other heart diseases might have to take pills to treat their medical challenges, and that makes them very likely to suffer from dry eyes.

Take beta blockers, for example, they lessen blood vessel contraction, reduce the force of the heart muscle contractions, and slow heart rate.

However, they have been discovered to decrease the sensitivity of the cornea, and that can dampen the stimulus for the tear glands to release tears.

Also, drugs like diuretics that are also meant to regulate blood pressure by causing disease patient to urinate more and drugs like Microzide and Lasix forces the body to expel excess water and also causes eye dryness.

4. Parkinson drugs, antipsychotics and antidepressants

Drugs that block the transmission of nerve impulses such as antidepressants and schizophrenia medicine are culprits of eye dryness.

On a regular basis, when a healthy nerve senses eye dryness, it sends a signal to the brain that triggers the release of tears. But in the situation where there is a break in the communication process, eye dryness is inevitable.

Drugs like Artane which is used to tackle tremors, stiffness, and spasms in Parkinson disease has the same anticholinergic properties in antidepressants and medications used for treating schizophrenia that cause a block in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Almost all medications in the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also cause eye dryness.

5. Oral contraceptives and Hormone therapy

For women who are on hormone therapy, especially those who take estrogens alone there is a higher chance of them experiencing in a dry eye compared to those who are on a combination of both estrogen and progesterone.

Women who make use of birth control pills are also likely to suffer from dry eyes as a result of hormonal changes linked with these pills. However, the exact relationship between address and hormones is yet to be ascertained.

6. Acne medicine

For severe cases of acne that does not respond to other forms of treatment dermatologist resolve to prescribe isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is a potent drug that once was sold under the brand name Accutane.

This drug is known to dry up oil glands and causing irritation of eyelids and the eyes among other side effects.

Accutane was pulled out of the drug market back in 2009 because it was discovered that people who took it had suicidal thoughts, congenital disabilities, depression, and bowel disorders. Other drugs are generic versions of Accutane in the market.

7. Eye drops

But this may be surprising, but specific eye drops have been discovered to exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye. Eye drops that clear redness from the eyes are suspected to also contributed to dry eyes, so it is advisable to find out why your eyes are red instead of going ahead to clear the redness.

If you notice your suffering from dry eyes as a result of medications you have been taken, please see your doctor and find out if you can get older drugs that would not have that effect or if there are ways to reduce dry eye.

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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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