Each year, more and more Americans are being diagnosed with conditions that require treatment from either OTC or prescription medications. While these medications can remedy a number of health problems, they can also cause side effects.
Side effects range from dry eyes and stomach issues to high blood pressure and other more serious conditions.
What should you do if you take a medication that causes dry eyes or other side effects?
Which Medications Are Known to Cause Dry Eyes?
Before we get into what to do if your medication is causing dry eyes, let’s first consider which medications cause some of the most common side effects.
1. Zyrtec and Benadryl
Both OTC and prescription medications are notorious for causing dry eyes. This is, after all, their purpose. They are made to counteract a histamine reaction, in addition to drying up the chest and sinuses from excess congestion due to that reaction.
These medications do their job so well, though, that they can cause dry mouth and dry eyes. In fact, this is one of the common Zyrtec D side effects. But other antihistamines, like Loratadine and Benadryl, can also cause dry eyes.
Besides the fact that these medications can dry out your eyes, they can also be dangerous to people with high blood pressure and heart disease.
Allergy medications, like Benadryl, cause high blood pressure. And they can also interfere with the ability of hypertension medications to actually do their job of reducing blood pressure.
It is, therefore, extremely important to read your allergy medication label to make sure they’re safe for people with high blood pressure. It might be best, too, to discuss the situation with your doctor to find the best antihistamine for someone with your condition to take.
2. OTC Water Pills and Other HBP Meds
Medications that are used to lower blood pressure can dry eyes, too.
Beta blockers reduce the level of immunoglobulin A, which decreases the aqueous production of the eye. The result: dry, irritated eyes.
OTC water pills and prescription diuretics like Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) also decrease fluid production in the body, thereby contributing to dry eyes. While this decreased lacrimation helps people with congestive heart failure, it doesn’t bode well for people’s eye health.
Do You Take Medication that Causes Dry Eyes? Steps to Take to Reduce Dryness
What should you do if your medication makes your eyes feel like sandpaper? Try the following suggestions.
1. Try OTC Eye Medications
At the first sign of dry eyes, go out and invest in some OTC eye drops. These will help keep your eyes lubricated and comfortable.
Plus, when your eyes are well-lubricated you are able to see with more clarity, making tasks like walking and driving safer for you and those around you.
2. Stay Hydrated
As you probably know, the human body consists mostly of water. It’s a vital component that needs to be replenished regularly. Doing so could reduce your dry eye symptoms or prevent them altogether.
Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day, all of them approximately eight ounces in size.
However, it’s important to note that there are times when it’s important to get even more water. These times include the summertime when we lose water at an increased rate, and when medications cause dry eyes.
Conversely, try to avoid certain beverages that actually leech fluid from your body, namely alcohol and caffeine.
3. Eat Eye-Healthy Foods
A nutrient-dense diet is a great way to protect your eyes, whether you’re experiencing dry eyes or not.
Nutrients that promote eye health include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Found in fish, these essential fatty acids help to stimulate tear production. Omega-3s can also be found in nuts and seeds.
- Antioxidants – These protect the eyes from damage from the sun and pollution. They can be found in berries and leafy green vegetables.
- Lutein – Eggs are high in lutein, which promotes overall eye health and reduces dry eye symptoms.
4. Talk to Your Eye Doctor
If all else fails and you’re still suffering from dry eyes due to medications, talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can prescribe eye medications that are more potent than OTC treatments.
During your examination, your doctor will first determine the exact cause. Then they will be able to prescribe the right medication. These include:
- Artificial Tears
- Steroid Eye Drops.
Don’t Suffer in Silence – Get Treatment for Dry Eyes Right Away
Not only are dry eyes uncomfortable, it’s not a healthy condition to have.
Dryness of the eyes can cause irritation, inflammation, and pain. It can also leave the eyes susceptible to infection, particularly if you scratch or rub your eyes because of the irritation.
If you take medication and experience dry eyes, don’t just “put up with it.”
Instead, stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, and try OTC eye drops. If that doesn’t work, make sure to discuss the issue with your general physician or eye doctor right away.
The sooner you talk to your doctor, the sooner you’ll get relief from dry, irritated eyes.