Your eyes are always irritated and dry and you can't understand why. You've probably never considered that the little pill you pop every day - whether it's an antihistamine or an antidepressant - may be behind your dry eye, but there's a good chance it could be the culprit!
Certain categories of medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription, can starve your eyes of hydration, resulting in a chronic condition known as dry eye. Read on for four medications that are known to trigger dry eye.
Four medications that are culprits of dry eye
Over-the-counter antihistamines used to treat cold symptoms
and relieve allergies, such as Allegra (exofenadine), Zyreutec (Cetirizine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Claritin (loratadine), reduce the watery tear film that keeps your eyes moist. What’s more, these drugs inhibit the effect of chemical histamine, which your body produce to fight common allergens.
#2: Hormone replacement and oral contraceptives
One study involving over 25,000 postmenopausal women found that those who took hormone replacement – particularly oestrogen alone – were 69% more likely to develop dry eye compared to a control group. Women who took both oestrogen and progesterone were 29% more likely to get dry eye. Separate research has found that women who use oral contraceptives like the birth control pill are likely to develop dry eye due to hormonal changes.
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Medications used to treat mental health
conditions like Elavil (a tricyclic antidepressant) and thioridazine (used for schizophrenia) block the transmission of nerve impulses. Usually, when a healthy nerve senses dryness, it automatically sends a signal to release tears. But when this communication network is blocked, the message can’t be delivered. The result? Dry eye.
Prescription medications used to treat high blood pressure
and some heart conditions can cause dry eye. Beta blockers, which slow down heart rate, lessen blood vessel contraction and reduce the force of heart muscle contractions, are a prime example. These drugs decrease the transparent window of your eye known as the cornea. Diuretics, which cause you excrete more urine, are another example.
If you’re one any of the above-mentioned medications and suffer from dry eye, consult your doctor to determine if the pills you’re popping are behind your eye condition.
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