Can gabapentin cause blurry vision?

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can gabapentin cause blurry vision?”. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including blurry vision. This blog will also cover some tips that can help make your condition better. 

Can gabapentin cause blurry vision?

Yes, gabapentin can cause blurry vision. It is, in fact, considered one of the most commonly reported side effects and it usually begins to subside within a few weeks of your treatment or when your body is completely adjusted to the medication. 

Many researchers have studied this side effect. One study revealed that gabapentin is not only capable of making visual changes, but it can also increase intraocular pressure and cause conditions like glaucoma. Several other research studies have also indicated the exact same effects of gabapentin. 

Another study has revealed that gabapentin can also affect your eye focus and colour identification. It causes blurry vision and diplopia. It can also affect the contrast sensitivity of your eyes and can significantly increase pressure inside the eyes. 

Not only this, some case reports showed that the use of gabapentin can exacerbate the symptoms of already existing eye problems. It is extremely important to discuss any eye-related problem with your healthcare provider, before starting treatment with gabapentin. 

Does gabapentin cause any other ocular side effects?

Gabapentin can affect your eyes in more ways than just blurring your vision. These include:

Optic Neuropathy 

Optic neuropathy is a condition which arises when your optic nerve is damaged. In a recent study, reviewed in the UK Journal, five cases with optic neuropathy are found to be connected with the long term use of gabapentin. 

In these case studies, people with more years of gabapentin use had to discontinue the treatment because of optic neuropathy and visual changes. 

These changes could be reversible or irreversible, depending on the severity of damage that has been done. For some people, it took 6-18 months to fully recover from gabapentin induced ocular side effects. 

Acute glaucoma 

The use of gabapentin can increase intraocular pressure which gives rise to a condition known as acute glaucoma. It happens when the fluid in your eye builds up and does not drain how it normally should. 

This causes increased pressure on your eyes and you suffer from pain, redness and blurry vision.

Acute myopia

Gabapentin can also cause acute myopia as it can have a direct impact on pupils. The pressure and nerve damage can make it difficult for you to see objects near you clearly. 

Can gabapentin cause blurry vision?

Dry eyes

Gabapentin is also associated with drying your eyes out. It is a side effect reported by people with long-term gabapentin use. It can cause pain, redness, itching and irritation in your eyes. 

Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before using gabapentin. If you have any eye problem, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to use gabapentin. Ocular side effects can also start to appear when you increase the dose or suddenly go from lower to higher doses. 

If you begin to experience visual side effects, make sure you visit your ophthalmologist to determine how much damage has already been done to your eyes and what are the risks associated with continuing gabapentin treatment. 

Is there anything that could be done to help prevent gabapentin induced blurry vision? 

Gabapentin induced blurry vision is not considered a serious side effect because it begins to subside within a few weeks of your treatment. However, if gabapentin is causing serious visual impairment beyond repair, the only option you have is to discontinue the treatment. 

Your eyes are far too precious to be wasted away like this. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this med or any other medication. Make sure you inform your healthcare provider right away if you suffer from any such side effects. 

However, there are a few tips that might help relax your eyes. These include:

Rest your eyes

If you suffer from gabapentin induced ocular side effects, make sure you don’t put more pressure on your eyes. Do not use your smartphone, laptop or watch TV excessively. You need to rest your eyes to avoid pain and discomfort. 

Add lubricants

Gabapentin can cause dryness in your eyes. It’s best if you use lubricants to soothe your eyes and keep them moist. It is also recommended to use artificial tears to lubricate your eyes. You can easily find them at your local pharmacy. 

Stay away from allergens

Make sure you protect your eyes from possible allergens. Protect them from dust, sharp sunlight, or any other allergen that might cause even more discomfort by making your eyes red, itchy or watery. 

It is recommended to stay at home if your eyes are really bothering you, and even if you go out, try to protect your eyes from dust or pollution. 

Do not smoke

Smoking can damage your optic nerve itself and its smoke can also irritate your eyes. It’s best to avoid smoking as long as your eyes are compromised. 

Add vitamin A to your diet

Vitamin A, also known as Retinol, is essential for your eye health. Make sure you add vitamin A rich foods in your diet like carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes etc. 

Don’t take too much vitamin A, as it’s a fat soluble vitamin and can get accumulated in your body for a long time. 

Keep your blood glucose level low if you’re diabetic

Researchers suggest that there is a link between diabetes and glaucoma. High blood sugar can increase your risk of getting ocular diseases. Make sure you keep your blood sugar level close to the normal ranges. 

What other medications can cause ocular side effects 

There are several other medications which can cause visual side effects. These side effects may get even more pronounced when these medications are used with gabapentin. 

Drugs used to treat infections/antibiotics

Antibiotics can cause visual side effects, especially fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin etc. 

Drugs used to treat hypertension 

Hypertensive agents can also cause ocular side effects like dry eyes and blurred vision. These include prazosin, tamsulosin etc. These drugs fall under the category of alpha-receptor-blockers. 

Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction 

These drugs can cause visual impairment including viagra, levitra etc. Make sure you ensure the proper use and ask your doctor about dose adjustment if possible. 

Drugs used to lower cholesterol/Statins

Statins can also cause visual side effects. These meds include atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin etc. 

Corticosteroids 

Corticosteroids can also cause visual side effects like dry eyes, blurred vision, redness, pain etc.  

Make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using gabapentin with any of the above mentioned medications. Sometimes, two medicines can produce similar kinds of side effects and when they’re used together, the side effects come out to be much stronger. 

So, it is crucial to talk about your medication history before you start using any medication while you’re on gabapentin. 

When to call your doctor 

When you start taking gabapentin, it is important to inform your doctor of your medical history. If you have diabetes or any other eye problem, you need to discuss the use of gabapentin with your healthcare professional. 

If you start taking gabapentin and notice changes in your vision or if you feel eye pain, itching, redness or pressure in your eyes, immediately report to your doctor. Do not stop your med without your doctor’s approval. 

No matter the side effects, keep taking your med on time until your doctor provides a suitable taper schedule to withdraw gabapentin safely. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed gabapentin induced blurry vision. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including blurry vision. Many researchers have studied this side effect. One study revealed that gabapentin is not only capable of making visual changes, but it can also increase intraocular pressure and cause conditions like glaucoma. 

If you start taking gabapentin and notice changes in your vision or if you feel eye pain, itching, redness or pressure in your eyes, immediately report to your doctor. Do not stop your med without your doctor’s approval. 

FAQs: gabapentin blurry vision 

What are the most serious side effects of gabapentin?

Gabapentin can cause some serious side effects. These include:

  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Impaired motor coordination 
  • Thrombocytopenia or decreased levels of platelets
  • Water retention
  • Rhabdomyolysis, a condition associated with abnormal breakdown of muscles
  • Convulsions 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.
  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 

Can gabapentin mess with your vision?

Yes, gabapentin can mess with your vision. Many researchers have studied this side effect. One study revealed that gabapentin is not only capable of making visual changes, but it can also increase intraocular pressure and cause conditions like glaucoma. Several other research studies have also indicated the exact same effects of gabapentin. 

How long does it take for side effects to go away with gabapentin?

Side effects associated with the use of gabapentin usually begin to subside within a few weeks of your treatment. However, this time duration can vary from person to person. Some people may start to notice recovery much earlier as compared to others. 

Can you take gabapentin forever?

The duration of your treatment with gabapentin depends on the severity of your condition and how well you can tolerate this medication. Some people can not stand the long-term treatment because of the disturbing side effects, whereas others can function really well with this medication and they can use it for years. 

What does gabapentin do to a person?

Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. Gabapentin mimics the actions of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works by inhibiting the excessive neuronal firing in the brain which reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. 

Gabapentin is also used to reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain by inhibiting nociceptors (pain receptors). This medication is a prescription medication and should be taken only at doses determined by your healthcare professional. 

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