by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Your eyes are similar to a camera, and like a camera if any part of your eye becomes damaged, you do not get a clear picture. Some of the common risks that affect your vision are your lifetime exposure to sunlight, your age, and smoking. All of these contribute to cumulative damage that can affect the crystalline lens of the eye where cataracts can occur, clouding vision, or damage the sensitive macular region of the retina also contributing to vision loss. Also, the threats are magnified especially if they occur in conjunction with a low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables or antioxidant supplements.
Many drugs affect the eye, sometimes temporarily causing dryness or inflammation and sometimes causing permanent structural damage affecting the sharpness of your vision. Some of these drugs are commonly used and do not even require a prescription. The entire family of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause visual side effects such as cataracts, dry eyes, and retinal hemorrhages that may result from long-term use. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium; all available without a prescription. Also acetaminophen, though not an NSAID, can be harmful.
The following drugs can cause glaucoma and/or damage the optic nerve: Once again NSAID’s, Effexor and other antidepressants, and Zocor- the statin drug for reducing cholesterol. Steroids such as Prednisone are the most damaging drugs to the eyes of any prescription drugs. If you must take any of these drugs, be sure to supplement your diet with antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, and beta-carotene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. This is not a complete list of drugs that affect vision and the structure of the eye but it lists the more commonly used drugs that are problematic.
Macula - Many scientific studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin for macular health. Additional studies support the use of other nutrients for eye health, such as N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) which creates Glutathione, and Bilberry to increase visual acuity and stamina for those with night blindness and tired eyes.
Bilberry - Nutritional support for eye health, night vision, visual stamina and acuity.
Lutein - Nutritional support for eye health and optimal vision throughout life. FloraGLO Lutein, purified from marigold extract.