Ocular Side Effects of Certain Medications

Mar 17, 2022 | Optometry

Ocular Side Effects of Certain Medications

As a health-care professional, you should always be aware of the side effects of medications you prescribe. Many medications can affect eye health, which is important for ophthalmologists and other eye professionals to know. Learn the ocular side effects of certain medications that many people take on a daily basis.


Antihistamines are common components in prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) medications for different types of allergies. This is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with their side effects. Patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, for example, should avoid certain antihistamines because they could worsen their condition. Some additional side effects that people with or without glaucoma may experience include dry eyes, blurred vision, pupil dilation, contact lens intolerance, and more.


Steroids are commonly prescribed in the medical field for treating a variety of conditions. Corticosteroids may be used as treatment for asthma, allergies, skin conditions, postsurgical needs, and more. However, as common as they are, certain steroids can cause optical complications as a side effect. This is especially true for steroids given via IV; the patient could develop cataracts or experience elevated eye pressure.

Vitamin A

Seeing vitamin A on this list might surprise some people. Vitamin A supplements are known to benefit eye health, so why might they have negative side effects? Well, the average person already gets enough vitamin A through a balanced diet, making vitamin A supplements unnecessary. Additionally, too much of anything can have negative side effects, vitamin A included. In fact, too much vitamin A through supplementation can actually damage your eyes by causing optic nerve swelling. Always talk to your doctor about the number and dosages of supplements you take.

Whether you’re a patient or an eye-care professional, it’s crucial to be aware of the ocular side effects of certain medications. As an eye-care professional, always make sure to talk with your patients about the side effects of their medications and to monitor their eye health. If you’re in need of eye care equipment and tools such as Tono-Pen tip covers for your practice, look no further than Automated Ophthalmics, Inc.