In this blog post, we will talk about zoloft induced blurry vision. We will learn how your antidepressant can have a negative impact on your eyes and will also learn about other ocular side effects of zoloft. We will also discuss some tips to help you with your blurred vision.
Zoloft induced blurry vision
Around 10-20% of people taking zoloft have reported some kind of visual side effect, usually blurred vision. Zoloft can cause nerve damage and increase intraocular pressure which can compromise your vision and can make things look blurry.
Not only this, some case reports showed that the use of zoloft 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 any antidepressant.
Does zoloft cause any other ocular side effects?
Zoloft can affect your eyes in more ways than just blurring your vision. These include:
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 SSRIs.
In these case studies, people with 7-14 years of zoloft 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 zoloft induced ocular side effects.
The use of zoloft 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.
Zoloft 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.
Zoloft is also associated with drying your eyes out. It is a side effect reported by people with long-term zoloft use. It can cause pain, redness, itching and irritation in your eyes.
Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before using zoloft. If you have any eye problem, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to use zoloft. 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 zoloft treatment.
What to do?
If your antidepressant is causing 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.
How to discontinue zoloft properly?
Do not stop using zoloft without your doctor’s approval. No matter the side effects, if you’ve been taking zoloft for quite a while now, it is NOT recommended to stop using it abruptly.
You have to keep taking your dose and consult your healthcare provider immediately. Your doctor will suggest the next step, whether to lower the dose or to just stop using it altogether.
If your side effects require discontinuation of treatment, your doctor will recommend a proper taper schedule to stop using zoloft, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to avoid suffering from discontinuation syndrome.
Tips that might help
Following are a few tips that can help you with your blurry vision:
Rest your eyes
If you suffer from zoloft 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.
Zoloft 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.
Other medications that could contribute to 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 zoloft.
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 drug 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 can also cause visual side effects like dry eyes, blurred vision, redness, pain etc.
Make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using zoloft 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 zoloft.
When to call your doctor
When you start taking zoloft, 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 zoloft with your healthcare professional.
If you start taking zoloft 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 zoloft safely.
In this blog, we talked about zoloft induced blurry vision. It is reported by 10-20% of people taking zoloft. This side effect is more common in people with long-term use of zoloft.
Studies also revealed that zoloft is responsible for causing optic neuropathy, acute glaucoma and acute myopia. Such conditions usually lead to discontinuation of treatment and it could take up to 18 months to finally recover from these side effects.
For some people, it could cause irreversible damage, especially in those who already have eye disease like glaucoma. In such patients, it is advised to use zoloft with caution and to start from the lowest possible dose.
FAQs: zoloft blurry vision
Does blurred vision from antidepressants go away?
Mild blurred vision or visual disturbance usually go away within 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. If your antidepressant severely affects your eyes, talk to your healthcare provider.
Is blurred vision caused by medication permanent?
Side effects from medications are not usually permanent. They go away with time. It might take up to 18 months, but it does go away. Make sure you do not have any underlying ocular disease which might get worse when your treatment starts. This could lead to permanent eye damage.
Can sertraline cause eye problems?
Yes, sertraline can cause eye problems in people with chronic use like blurred vision, acute glaucoma, optic neuropathy etc.
How long does it take antidepressant side effects to go away?
It usually takes 3-4 weeks for your zoloft induced side effects to go away. For some people, it might take much longer than that. Make sure you keep taking your med as directed by your doctor. If you suffer from disturbing side effects, talk to your doctor before stopping zoloft on your own.
Can Zoloft cause eye pain?
Yes, zoloft may cause pain in your eyes. It can cause ocular side effects like dry eyes, blurry vision etc.
What are the common side effects of zoloft?
Common side effects of Zoloft include:
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling angry or agitated
- Weight gain
- Inability to digest food
- Loss of libido
- Sweating/Night sweats
- Tremors or shaking
- Decreased sex drive
- Inability to ejaculate
Zoloft, sometimes, causes serious side effects. Consult your healthcare provider as soon as you can if these symptoms occur:
- Eye pain with vision problems
- Memory problems/Dementia
- Severe weakness and inability to move
- Jonathan Lochhead, Consultant Ophthalmologist – Keep an eye on the SSRI: help avoid possible sight-threatening adverse events https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4723200/#!po=6.25000
- J Lochhead. Eye (Lond). (2015) – SSRI-associated optic neuropathy https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26139049/
- Ciro Costagliola et al. Curr Neuropharmacol. (2008) – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a review of its effects on intraocular pressure https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19587851/
- Ying-Xi Zhao and Xiang-Wu Chen – Diabetes and risk of glaucoma: systematic review and a Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596230/
- Ho Yin Ho et al. Gen Hosp Psychiatry (2013) – Acute angle closure glaucoma after sertraline https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23040863/
- How Diabetes Affect Your Eyes and Eye Care Tips https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-eye-care
- Juan Wu, MS, Eunyoung Cho, ScD, and Debra – Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids and Age-Related Macular Degeneration During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5119484/
- Smoking and Eye Disease https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/smokers