What medications cause dry eye?

Some medications have been found to cause dry eye as a side effect.

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

Types of Medication

Some medications cause dry eye as a side effect. What types of medications are they, and what can be done if you need to use them, but have a history of dry eye.

 

Several types of common medications can cause dry eye, either by causing reduced tear production or by negatively affecting the tear film composition.

Antidepressants, Parkinson’s Medication, and Sleeping Pills

While these medications have very different purposes, one thing they have in common is that they block some signals between nerve cells. While this can be very helpful when treating something like depression or Parkinson’s disease, they may also, inadvertently, block the signals that would normally be telling your eyes to make more tears.

While some antidepressants, such as SSRIs, do not work this way, they too have been found to cause dry eye.

Birth Control and Other Hormones

Birth Control and Other Hormones

Medication which affect hormones, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy for menopause, have been found to commonly cause dry eye. Additionally, it has been found that women taking just estrogen are much more likely to experience dry eye symptoms than women who take both estrogen and progesterone.

It is not completely understood why these hormone-affecting medications cause dry eye, but one possibility is that they affect how much water ends up in the tears.

Birth Control and Other Hormones

Blood Pressure Medication

Many blood pressure medications are known as beta-blockers, and block the body’s response to adrenaline. This helps the blood pressure through controlling the heart rate, which in turn reduces the amount of force placed by the blood on the arteries. A side effect of this, however, is that the body starts to produce less of a type of protein which is a component of the tears. This leads to fewer tears, and dryer eyes. Additionally, beta-blockers can lower the standard pressure in the eyes, which also leads to less water in the eyes, and thus dry eyes.

Another type of medication used for blood pressure problems, diuretics (also known as water pills). This medication, which helps the body get rid of water and salt, can also affect the composition of your tears and cause dry eye.

Acne Medication

Some drugs taken for severe acne, such as isotretinoin, lower the amount of oils made by specific glands to help relieve symptoms. However, some of those glands, which are located in your eyelids, produce oils that are a key component of tears. If too little of this oil is produced, the tears evaporate too quickly, leading to dry eyes.

Birth Control and Other Hormones

What Should You Do If Your Medication is Causing Dry Eye?

If you believe a medication you are taking is causing dry eye, do not stop taking it right away as, depending on what type of medication it is, that can have a harmful effect. The best thing to do is speak with a doctor, who will be best able to recommend a solution which will work for you.

You may be instructed to change the dosage of the medication in question, as some drugs are less likely to cause dry eye if taken in smaller doses, or you may be advised to switch to a different, equivalent medication which does not cause dry eye.

Artificial tears, or other treatment options may be suggested as a way to keep your eyes properly moist.

If your dry eye is making it hard to wear your contact lenses, you may also be advised to dry different types of lenses, such as higher water content lenses or daily disposable lenses, to provide relief.

Dr. Wernick cartoon

Summary

A number of commonly used medications can cause dry eye, for different reasons. Fortunately, solutions are out there, whether through changing your medication or using a dry eye treatment to relieve symptoms while you continue to take your medication. If you think a medication you are taking is causing dry eye, you can contact Amplify EyeCare Manhattan at (212) 752-6930 to schedule a consultation.

Testimonials


  • At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


    Cynthia Norton

  • Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


    Steve Fay

  • Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


    Mary K.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Peter G.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Kinkie F.

Blog

eye-problems-such-as-near-sighted

Why are your eyes tired, dry, or vision blurry after hours on a phone or computer? Understanding the impact of digital screen time on how we blink

Digital devices affect our blinking rate and can lead to digital eye strain. In the United States, nearly 70 percent […]

Read More
jack-b-oWUeGozstgs-unsplash

Keratoconus

Keratoconus occurs in approximately one in 2,000 individuals and affects people of all races equally. What is keratoconus? It is […]

Read More
pexels-anna-shvets-4557831

Suppression

Suppression occurs when your brain shuts off one of your eyes because it either sees double or doesn't work as […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan Logo

Working Hours

Tuesday - Thursday
9:30am–5pm

Friday
9:30am–3pm

Saturday
9:30am–2pm

Sunday
Closed

Location
235 East 67th Street, Suite 201, New York, New York, United States, 10065
Fax
(212) 759-2220
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
appointment
Call Us
Referrals
Assessments
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram