Keeping an Eye on the Ball: Visual Problems on SSRIs

Print Friendly
December 3, 2013 | 80 Comments

Comments

  1. i have had severe eye problems since bein told it was safe to go cold turkey off 40mgs prozac in september 2007.by my extremely stupid Gp and several other doctors at hospitals. and a rather clever psychiatrist.all denied that i could suffer prozac withdrawal and made me feel in my utter torture that i was experiencing a “return of the mental illness symptoms”the ones i never had before taking the poisonous shit.aside from the extreme pain and mental torture and severely damaged nervous system that i have had to endure alone without help or recognition for 6 years. ive had constant visible dots,blurred vision,flashes of light.floating things,squigly lines,black dots,and flashing and cloudiness in my peripheral vision.

    • I too have had problems. I had severe eye inflammation and raccoon eyes as my daughter calls it. I have vision problems as well. It’s been two years since I went cold turkey after two weeks bc I went into violent sickness like I was in a Merry go round going super fast and wanted to vomit. I just recently last week February 8, 2015 just had severe flashing and twitching and my peripheral vision was gone. Lasted 5 min. I continue to have dark circles all around my eyes upper and lower especially when I’m tired or haven’t exercised in a while I’m trying to figure out what has gone wrong. L.

    • I’ve always been told that you have to wean off anti-depressant very gradually otherwise you can get a relapse.

  2. My eye sight became much sharper and more in detail when I came off Citalopram, I hadn’t noticed the eye problem whilst on them because I was also very detached and spaced out so thought it was all to do with that. I had so many side effects on SSRIS it was very hard to be specific with each effect at the time. On Mirtazapine my eyes have become blurry but I don’t feel detached.

  3. I have vision problems in the wake of a cocktail of SSRI’s, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics and anxiolytics. I was given SSRI’s for rape trauma, which caused drug reactions that doctors decided were more psychiatric diseases that had been “unmasked” by the SSRI’s. I have blurred vision, pain from bright light, afterimages, and night blindness.

      • Seroquel and Eye Pressures:
        Hi David, Try this yourself or try it on a 45+ colleague: Get an eye test with pressures included. Take a very small dose of Seroquel 25mg at bedtime or 12.5mg for a week or two (the tablet divides easily and it should n’t slow you down the next day). Then get the eye test and pressures taken again and see what even tiny doses of Seroquel do to the eye pressures!
        If psychiatric drug companies are heavily invested in Universities to what extent will specialist Ophthalmic research feature on psychiatric drug damage (eyesight is the first thing to go with these drugs)?

  4. My vision on SSRIS would be like comparing a plastic plant to a real plant. On SSRIS every plant looked plastic even the trees looked fake. Off the medication I couldn’t believe how “REAL” everything looked, you could see the leaves in real fine detail unlike before. It actually made me quite emotional because it felt as if I had finally arrived back into the real world. I’m now on Mirtazapine and have noticed my eye sight become blurry but even more so at night.

  5. I developed ‘visual snow’ after taking citalopram (just 5mg) from May to October this year. This wasn’t my first time on citalopram – I tried it in 2011 for around 2 weeks, and again in late 2011-early 2012 for 6 weeks, discontinuing both times because of intense ‘activation syndrome’ and a worsening of my OCD intrusive thoughts. Previously I had been taking 20mg of fluoxetine, which I tolerated well, but started feeling much more anxious/agitated in 2011 which led to me asking for citalopram. I had experienced quite bad withdrawal symptoms that persisted for over a year after the 6-week period of citalopram, which actually cleared up completely after reinstating just 5mg of citalopram this year. However, I developed fairly severe visual problems – visual snow, flashes of light etc, and cognitive difficulties. I have 20/20 vision, though the optician said I had high pressure in my eyeballs and referred me to a hospital in Durham for an appointment – nothing was wrong with my eyes, and the consultant advised it was the citalopram.

    I’ve discontinued it and returned to a low dose of fluoxetine, but my intrusive thoughts and general feeling of being ‘on edge’ have returned. While the visual snow is still persisting, albeit slightly improved, I am reluctant to ask for more tests given that its still early days, and also because I’m in a fairly vulnerable position regarding my health. I guess I want to be stable on something, that would at the same time allow me to work, before I think about doing a slow taper off these meds, or looking into other health concerns. SSRIs appear to have caused me no shortage of trouble.

    • Peter

      The point behind the test is not to get you off the drug – its to see if we can work out what causes the visual snow. I could easily imagine someone deciding that they get enough benefit to continue with the meds, but at least we would all know something more about what these drugs do. And this might be important when it comes to checking out children whose mothers have been on them during pregnancy for instance

      David

      • OK, I’ll ask my GP the next time I see him, though I suspect he will be reluctant to refer me for these tests owing to the time/cost requirements to the NHS.

  6. I took a look at RxISK for reports of visual problems on paroxetine. The most common by far was “vision blurred” – 599 reports (PRR 1.5) But the most impressive “PRR numbers” were connected to various birth defects. (PRR stands for Proportional Reporting Ratio, which serves as a rough guide to how likely it is that the condition is connected to the drug.) Here’s a sample:

    Strabismus 75 (67 congenital), PRR = 6.2
    Strabismus, congenital 3, PRR = 5.1
    Oculoauriculovertebral dysplasia 16, PRR = 99.9
    Retinopathy, congenital 35, PRR = 3.1
    Retinopathy of prematurity 54, PRR = 32.9
    Optic nerve disorder 15 (11 congenital), PRR = 1.7
    Optic nerve hypoplasia 7, PRR = 9.5
    Eyelid ptosis, congenital 17, PRR = 50.1
    Congenital eye disorder 14, PRR = 8.7
    Tunnel vision 22 (15 congenital), PRR = 4.0

    This would seem to fit with the idea that AS’s doctors came to — that these visual symptoms are a nervous system problem. Could be a small clue?

  7. One other thing I noticed on Paroxetine my pupils used to be so dilated but on Citalopram they were very constricted. Makes you wonder why the difference when there both the same type of drugs.

    • This might be down to the fact that paroxetine has greater anticholinergic effects – its more like atropine which was used as Belladonna eyedrops to cause pupils to dilate making the woman appear more attractive – perhaps because pupils dilate when you are attracted to someone.

  8. Sertraline (Zoloft) gave me nasty visual snow & palinopsia (afterimages/trails) several years ago and it never improved. I have bipolar disorder so it wasn’t the right drug for me anyway. However I don’t think the SSRI causes the effect as much as it precipitates a lurking condition. By the way, there is a very active visual snow forum on facebook. Cheers, Stu.

  9. I am really happy to see this finally reported. I haven’t been on any psych meds for years, but had visual issues with both klonopin and prozac. The most noticeable was after-images, from bright lights and in general but I also sometimes saw flashes of pretty colors in my peripheral vision or elsewhere. At first I thought I was hallucinating and assumed it meant I was becoming more mentally ill! I also had floaters and other irregularities. When I went off prozac I would see flashes of light when I entered a very dark room. Fortunately, now that I have gone completely off these drugs all of my vision problems have disappeared. Funny how that works! Drs should learn about these side effects and warn patients — it was terrifying to have these issues bc I thought they meant I was going crazy.

  10. Users of the acne drug Roaccutane are also reporting eye problems, notably blurred vision and eye dryness, which they link to using the drug.
    Their situation does not improve even when ceasing to use the drug. The damage is deemed to be irreversible.

  11. I am very interested in these reports. I have been on many psychotropic drugs since 1998, including SSRIs and atypical anti psychotics. I have slowly weaned myself off, but still take clonazepam and zopiclone. Thus I am not much use for linking the eye problems described to a specific class of drug. But, I have had blurred vision, acute sensitivity to sunlight, a sense of not seeing properly, real problems in low light, an odd sensation in my left eye particularly and headaches for the past three years (before the clonazepam). Recently I have experienced odd visual effects after using my iPad at night (never for more than 30 minutes). After switching off and preparing for sleep, I have a black shape in my central vision, both eyes, but worse in the left. Looking at the window, which is illuminated by a streetlamp, I see a yellowy-brown swirly mass (like brown ink dropped into water). It is worse in the left eye. After about 15 minutes it goes away. The first time it happened I shot off to the optician, who gave my eyes the all clear, and had no explanation for the visual oddities other than that they were migrainous. I had no headache before, during or after them (although I have been told that you can have a migraine without a headache….!). I have hesitated to tell any medic, as struggled so hard to get any of them to take my physical withdrawal symptoms seriously after I had stopped the antipsychotics.

    • They’re probably thinking of “optical migraine”, and indeed I get a headache less than 50% of the time with those. I think that may be an antiquated term add well as an antiquated theory, but my migraines are do severe and chronic I haven’t bothered to research it. I’d suggest researching optical migraine, ocular migraine, and visual migraine aura, because that’s what the doc seems to have been referring to. However, your description of your symptoms don’t fit the typical visual phenomena. There are other migraine subtypes that probably do fit with your descriptions, but in the U.S. at least, most docs don’t have much familiarity with the rarer migraine subtypes, even many neurologists.

  12. My symptoms since starting SSRI’s

    – Blurry Vision
    – Sensitivity to sunlight

    Since stopping the drug 16 months ago, i have all this (Exactly the same as AS) and more with no signs of improvement:

    – Blurred vision that doesn’t seem to be picked up in a standard eye test.
    – A general feeling that my vision is not quite right / not the same as it used to be
    – Difficulty recognising people at a distance or reading signs/posters.
    – Reduced vision in low lighting
    – Bright lights remaining as after-images for longer than normal. (Much, much longer than normal)
    – Objects appear darker when in front of a bright background eg. faces can look unusually dark when in front of a window with sunshine outside.
    – When I look at a plain background – say a wall – in low light it can seem to show a speckled haze or visual snow or graininess. (This is huge for me)
    – Heat wave vision – You know when you look on a tar road thats very hot and you see the ” heat waves” coming from the tar – well i have this with all objects!
    – Millions of floaters
    – Very high eye pressure readings
    – Pain behind eyes
    – Eyes get tired very quickly and always feel sore
    – Things look 2 dimentional
    – Colours look alot brighter than normal

    From the looks of things, these eye symptoms are permanent… That scares me. Is there nothing that can help us??

  13. Have tons of these eye symptoms…..on ssri’s, mood stabilizers, anti anxiety……but is there anything I can do? I am in canada?!

  14. http://www.madinamerica.com/news-archives/

    There have been vision issues reported at the Effexor withdrawal topix site.

    I had a reaction to lidocaine at the dentist no epi in the shot as previous episodes at the dentist stopped them using it.
    My one eye would not close the other would not open… odd to say the least. The next day I had my usual eye exam scheduled. I could not see certain things they were just gone … the bit of letters and numbers they shine on the wall one block was just white empty… when i told her so she got all excited… did a few more tests one picture with small boxes looked fine thru one eye on the next the boxes were devided by an extra line that was not there… something was off with the dot in the center too but I can’t recall what. She sent me to my gp who sent me to the hosp for a cat scan saying I was leaning as I walk and my pupils were not reacting properly to light. Off I went to the hosp had a cat scan which showed a small calcification in my brain… the hosp sent me to a ophthalmologist who tested my eyes and said they were fine… when I talk to him about further testing he said i would have to follow proper channels and that a neurologist was the next step so I got in cue to see him… he did another I think he did yet another mri on my brain… sent me to a drug study to see if I was allergic to lidocaine… that took a year or so… apparently I am not allergic tho I did have a sever pain in my head moments after the small amount of the drug was pricked into my skin… I was told at that hosp I had a TIA and that it just happened as a coincidence when I was given an injection of lidocaine at the dentist. I have not had lidocaine since…. I am scared to.
    After the injection I walked home as it was close and I could not drive.talked breifly about the possiblility that I was having a stroke….. I had some soup that was made already by a family member had him take a picture of my odd face and promptly passed out. I woke feeling odd and far away but could open and close both my eyes.

    I had wanted to see a neurological ophthalmologist but never did as no doctor thought it useful.

    Drugged 18 years with various antidepressants cold turkey from Effexor 7 years ago… long line of crap since.

    MY eyes went bad when I was on a combination of effexor and celexa it was sudden…. or seemed that way to me. Have had glasses since during cold turkey I had many vision issue and had many since.

    There has been one person on the Effexor topix site who has severe issues with his eyes and did get the testing needed I am not sure what country he was in and have not found his post but it is there some place if I find it I will send him this message.
    This is in fact one of many problems with antidepressant drugs just one of many but I guess you have to start some place

    I started having issues with dental freezing after the cold turkey I have also been extremely reactive to medications so much so I could not take anything. I know in my gut this is related to antidepressants.

  15. post from efffexor withdrawal topix Re: hemmorhage in part of the eye sorry there is not more information due to the post being deleted by whoever monitors the site.

    “Off effexor xr for two months, just went to retina specialist today, said looked like a different set of eyes from my first visit! Hemorrhages gone, vision is 20/20, 20/30. Have been gradually decreasing pred forte drops, and with the tapering of drops eyes still healing!!!! Again if anyone takes this med, and experiences vision degeneration, PLEASE GET CHECKED!!!!@@”

    original posts disappeared as they often do on this site.
    but here is a bit that was captured in a quoted post.

    zman wrote:
    just switching med today. Wanna see if hemmorhage clears up. Too coincidental with the start time of effexor and the blurring. Happened within a week! I will post with update of condition. Hang in there! Can you find out if it was actual hemmorhaging or glaucoma. Read that is possible as well with seniors. Although I’ve suffered with gad and bouts of depression for yrs,always had eyes like a hawk! Wish I could take Paxil again! Was on it for 18 yrs before it pooped out. Didn’t have any unnormal anxiety issues for that whole time! Sorry if any spelling errors, can’t see worth a crap!
    more missing posts but the topic was caught in a quote here

    change my name wrote:

    I had a sudden lack of vision while on effexor I too thought it was just blurred vision but then the sudden change which never did improve. I too effexor a couple of years after that with new eye glasses of course that I needed all the time before I did not have glasses. I went to the laser surgery doc to see if they could fix it they only said they could not guarentee my surgery and it would cost me 8 grand they did not say why or what was wrong. I just assumed my eyes suddenly went bad for now reason. No doctor has said anything to me about Effexor causing bad eyesight and I have directly asked them when this happened. I would think the eye exam I had for the surgery would have shown if I had this damage… the person running the diagnostic was not my cup of tea I knew when I left if I ever did have this done it would not be by that particular business. Have you been able to recover you vision??? I would like to learn more about this is there any way to repair it?
    just switching med today. Wanna see if hemmorhage clears up. Too coincidental with the start time of effexor and the blurring. Happened within a week! I will post with update of condition. Hang in there! Can you find out if it was actual hemmorhaging or glaucoma. Read that is possible as well with seniors. Although I’ve suffered with gad and bouts of depression for yrs,always had eyes like a hawk! Wish I could take Paxil again! Was on it for 18 yrs before it pooped out. Didn’t have any unnormal anxiety issues for that whole time! Sorry if any spelling errors, can’t see worth a crap!

  16. I took prozac for several years off and on. I started having issues in 2006 after being off the drug for a year. I started getting anxiety and got light sensitivity and shaky vision. I started the prozac back up and most symptoms went away. Once I stopped it in 2009 I started getting trails in my vision and flashing lights when going from a dark room into a bright room. I restarted the Prozac in 2010 and switched to zoloft after a month due to a constant headache that started from the prozac… within 3 days I was seeing the visual snow. I stopped it immediately and have had symptoms ever since.

  17. I’ve taken mild antidepressants for years; several years ago I developed Adies Syndrome. Maybe you guys can look into that as well

  18. I take Sertraline and Minanserin, the first for depression and the second for sleep issues. I have been taking this combination for six monts, and during that time my vision has become gradually worse. I don’t know which causes the issue; it could be either or both.

    Now my vision is blurry most of the time, and I have trouble reading. Sometimes I see double too. I am going to a optician next week, but I don’t think she will find anything. A year ago, my vision was perfect. I should not have any age related issues, as I am only nineteen. When I hear about people suffering permanent vision changes, it makes me feel anxious.

    I would like to help you in your research, but I don’t dare to ask for an hospital eye test. I just quit antipsychotics eight monts ago, and my new doctor does not support that decicion. I am doing so much better without them, and I am afraid asking for a test could make him lose trust in my recovery. Being what he calls “a bothersome patient” just feels too risky right now. Even riskier than possibly damaging my vision without knowing why. I am afraid a lot of people feel that way.

  19. These are my eye symptoms: When I move my head, normally my eyes should come around instantly at the same time as my head. This doesn’t happen. There is a ‘lag’ or a time lapse between my head moving and my eyes catching up. This makes me uncoordinated, and my judgement poor. I stumble a fair bit, and bump into things if I try to do things at the speed I would have done them say five years ago. Living this way makes me nauseous, agitated, easily stressed and withdrawn. This is largely because I can’t engage in activities the way I would like to. My vision is‘blurry’ all of the time and I feel as if the muscles at the back of my eyes are constricted or slow to work. It eases at night time by about 20 percent. When I am trying to adjust my focus from near to far, and far to near, I get pain behind my eyes. When I move my eyes from right to left, or up and down it hurts at the back of my eyes and there is the time delay. When I wear my glasses, it is okay when I am not moving around, but when I am moving, turning, etc, wearing the glasses worsens my symptoms even more. In bright sunlight and in night driving I feel I get ‘blinded’ more severely and the effect lingers for too longer by comparison to how it used to be. Most evenings around 8pm, my eyes start to look very pained and sore. 15 minutes prior to that, my eyes feel very lazy and its difficult to move them around and I have a ‘tumbling’ sensation in my head. I don’t know if this next bit of information is helpful, but I can tell you when I DON’T get these symptoms: I don’t get this happening if I am sitting still – fixing my gaze on one point: like working on the computer or chopping vegetables, or writing.

    • Ann Kelly, I have the same problems and I am miserable. I weaned myself off of Klonopin, Lamital 400mgs, and now I am down to 10 mg of Prozac. These drugs have ruined my life!!

  20. These are my symptoms: When I move my head, normally my eyes should come around instantly at the same time as my head. This doesn’t happen. There is a ‘lag’ or a time lapse between my head moving and my eyes catching up. This makes me uncoordinated, and my judgement poor. I stumble a fair bit, and bump into things if I try to do things at the speed I would have done them say five years ago. Living this way makes me nauseous, agitated, easily stressed and withdrawn. This is largely because I can’t engage in activities the way I would like to. My vision is‘blurry’ all of the time and I feel as if the muscles at the back of my eyes are constricted or slow to work. It eases at night time by about 20 percent. When I am trying to adjust my focus from near to far, and far to near, I get pain behind my eyes. When I move my eyes from right to left, or up and down it hurts at the back of my eyes and there is the time delay. When I wear my glasses, it is okay when I am not moving around, but when I am moving, turning, etc, wearing the glasses worsens my symptoms even more. In bright sunlight and in night driving I feel I get ‘blinded’ more severely and the effect lingers for too longer by comparison to how it used to be. Most evenings around 8pm, my eyes start to look very pained and sore. 15 minutes prior to that, my eyes feel very lazy and its difficult to move them around and I have a ‘tumbling’ sensation in my head. I don’t know if this next bit of information is helpful, but I can tell you when I DON’T get these symptoms: I don’t get this happening if I am sitting still – fixing my gaze on one point: like working on the computer or chopping vegetables, or writing.

  21. After taking 10mg of Lexapro for 8 months, I slowly weened myself off because I was experiencing brain shocks. I felt great after two months of being off of it, but I slowly noticed vision changes. My vision was never 20/20 and I’m near-sighted so I’ve always had difficultly seeing words clearly from a far. Now anything past my nose is blurry. I have to sit back from my computer to focus on the letters on the keyboard and I have problems driving because everything looks foggy or blurry, especially at night. When I wear my prescription glasses I get headaches because I’m squinting, which I normally only do when I can’t see words from a far. So I asked my doctor if this was a side effect of coming off Lexapro and he said no. I took his word for it, but I’m not convinced. I’m only 24 years old and I know my vision didn’t change that drastically over 8 months.

  22. A long time ago (1977) I was given Stellazine, an anti-psychotic. Within a day, I was seeing double vision. I also had no depth perception. I complained to a nurse, who said, “Don’t worry, that’s just a side effect of the medication.” So I demanded to see the doctor to get my prescription changed, and was told that he was not there, and I would have to wait a week to see him. I threatened to sue the clinic. They took me off the drug. The problem stopped, but it recurs periodically, even to this day.

  23. I took anti-depressants and benzos for many years. I do not see well at all, especially at night. I am currently 45 years old, but have had a strong prescription (bifocals) for a number of years.

  24. A few months after I’d started taking Celexa, I started waking up in the mornings with double vision. It would eventually go away during the day, but I noticed that it would happen after naps too. And then, I noticed that it would happen after computer use or an extended period of watching television.

    After playing around with my eyes for a bit, I started to narrow down the problem: my left eye wasn’t moving as you’d expect it to. My vision was “jumping” or “skipping”. If I covered my right eye and only used my left, and stared directly at a small object (say, a hair clip) while bowing my head, the object would appear to “jump”. If I did the same without any eyes covered, the clip would double (vertically, I believe.)

    I went to an ophthalmologist who DX’d it as a partial paralysis of…something. I don’t have the notes handy. At this point, I didn’t connect it with the Celexa at all.

    But several months ago, I was transitioned from Celexa to Zoloft — and I haven’t had the eye problem since.

  25. Hi,
    I am researching along these very lines. In the article you state you took along medical evidence about the dangers of anti-depressants, including persisting alterations to brain function in rat studies and some literature from RxISK. I was wondering if you had the links to these references? Also any of the other commenters who said they had seen other published medical info about it.

  26. Hi sorry if this double posts not sure on moderation-
    I am a researcher and some of you mention articles you have read eg persisting alterations to brain function in rat studies and some literature from RxISK. Do you have references to these articles? And if anyone else in the comments section has any to have they would be appreciated.

  27. I too have symptoms, I’m ringing the doc today. Mine are strange though, it’s colour changes. Black text changes colour to reds or, purple and green when i`m reading. It’s in both eyes and can be different colours in each, like some of these letters are now purple and some green. It happened on Zoloft 5 years ago, disappeared with prozac and after 18months on paxil it’s back again. Optician says my eyes are fine. It’s weird.

  28. I was just telling someone today that for some ‘crazy’ reason, my eye sight seems to have declined at an incredibly rapid rate since going on new anti depressant medications. For several years I was on Effexor. For whatever reason, the medication seemed to stop working and I ended up going through the worst depression of my life. My doctor took me off the Effexor, and after going through some horrific withdrawals from that medication; he put me on Wellbutrin and Remeron. I am 47 years old and previously noticed that my eyes were getting ‘old’ and I could tell I needed reading glasses. However; my eyesight seems to have gotten really bad all within the last month. (I have been on the new meds for a couple of months). I kinda thought I was imagining it – especially going through such a horrible depression..I just figured I MUST be imagining it. After all, I could not see how an anti depressant could create a rapid deterioration of my eye sight; and then I read all these comments. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought…LOL

  29. Hello all. I have just come back from the optometrist. To give you some background, when the dose of Effexor-XR was hiked to 325mg daily, I lost eight diopters of sight within weeks, and developed vertical diplopia (double vision stacked one on top of the other) sparking a panic that led to an urgent MRI investigation for a brain tumour. There wasn’t one. I was duly prescribed graduated lenses to correct distance, middle and close vision.
    When I was withdrawn from SSRI/SNRI therapy I was warned by my clinician that visual skewing was a possibility and told not to drive or ride a bike for at least six weeks. I did indeed experience visual tilting/skewing with the muscles in my eyes causing my house to look as though it was tilted at 45 degrees. It was terrifying.
    Since withdrawing, my eyesight has improved, even allowing for normal changes due to aging. However, the optometrist has had to change my prescription and add prisms, as my eye muscles are still to go different ways. I have SSRI/SNRI-induced dystonia/dyskinesia.Lisa, you’re not crazy. David H, the World Health Organisation mentioned visual disturbance in relation to SSRIs some time ago and also recommended that people should not drive during withdrawal. As an aside, I no longer need corrective lenses for distance and middle vision, only reading. The optometrist has no doubt that the divergent inner eye muscles have been affected by SSRI/SNRI medication.

  30. I experience the same symptoms, i used Prozac , Anafranil and S-citap :

    – Blurred vision that doesn’t seem to be picked up in a standard eye test.
    – A general feeling that my vision is not quite right / not the same as it used to be
    – Difficulty recognising people at a distance or reading signs/posters.
    – Reduced vision in low lighting – I now know this is called nyctalopia.
    – Bright lights remaining as after-images for longer than normal.
    – Objects appear darker when in front of a bright background eg. faces can look unusually dark when – in front of a window with sunshine outside.
    – When I look at a plain background – say a wall – in low light it can seem to show a speckled haze or visual snow or graininess.
    – Episodes of a bright green haze on waking.

  31. Was on mirtazapine 30 to 135 mg for eleven years. Have been off all psychiatric drugs now for three years. Was diagnosed with “normal pressure” glaucoma a couple of months ago and prescribed drops. I tolerated the drops for six weeks and then found my eyes were hurting, I couldn’t wear my contacts any longer. I stopped the drops and have not yet been back to my optometrist.

    Is this yet another “legacy” effect to using mirtazapine for 11 years? Does anyone have a similar experience and what have you found out or done for this? Any comments would be appreciated!

  32. I started along mirtazapine in January 2014. The first m night I took it when I woke up in the morning I had really bad visual snow and palinopsia. My eyes were really blurry. I eventually stopped taking it in late February, when I quit cold turkey thinking I would be fine to do so after only six weeks on it. I has vertigo for three days and have since been diagnosed with a bilateral failure in my vestibular system. I also noticed a huge sensitivity to light, fluorescent lights and to bright colours and patterns. I have problems tracking fast moving objects
    And feel dizzy in crowds. I had none if these problems until I started the mirtazapine and they seemed to get even worse when I suddenly stopped taking it. I have had my eyes examined thoroughly by a neuro opthamologist and my eyes themselves are very healthy. What tests can be done and does anyone know a hospital in the somerset area that carries them out? I hope this isn’t permanent 🙁

  33. For ten years I have been living with visual snow, tinnitus, afterimages, flashing lights, memory problems, brain fog……… Before that I had a lot of migraine attacks. Because of problems sleeping through the night and an early menopause they gave me Mirtazepine. Mirtazepine works great for sleeping but I am experiencing an increase in light sensitivity, visual snow and memory problems. Mirtazepine didn’t cause my problems but certainly make them a lot worser. I am now in my sixth week and if the symptoms remain then I will stop taking Mirtazepine.

  34. My little cat was started on 5mg/day of Prozac (for obsessive behaviors and atypical aggression) and his behavior changed immediately. Among other things, he became very lethargic and his left pupil remained dilated, even in bright light. He is already blind in his right eye, so this was and is significant. I stopped the medication (8 days total on it) and his left pupil started constricting more normally, but I can tell his vision is still off, including having clear depth perception problems where they were minimal previously. He obviously is having some kind of strange visual phenomena, or is losing his sight in his left eye which I hope is not the case. He has neuro issues and I think the Prozac was like dumping gasoline on a little spark, because he is not at all the cat he was prior to the Prozac. Today is day 8 off the Prozac.

  35. I am over 3 years off ssri’s. I was a long term user. And was on 3 different ones over a 13 year period. I have had blurry vision that the eye doctor has done numerous testing on and sees no problems. My blurry vision over the last 3 years has morphed into floaters, pixels, black dots. I now feel like there’s a haze over my eyes and I am barely see clearly mostbof the time. Other times it feels to get better. But recently it’s been constant. I almost feel like I cannot focus on any single thing at times and it’s quite scary.

  36. I have been on Celexa for a little over a month and have had it upped to 20mg. It works great except I noticed that I have been seeing things in my peripheral vision. Like I’ll see a shape that appears to be slowly moving toward me, so, thinking it’s a spider on the wall I’ll turn my head and nothing is there. It’s not always the same shape though. Any help?

  37. I have been on seroxat for over 20 years for OCD mostly successsfully. However in August 2013 had a major relapse with several changes of medication. All through this period I have complained of strange vision which has not shown up in vision tests and has been dismissed by doctors as health anxiety. The visual problems have made me depressed which feeds my ocd. Also as I am a professional driver it has affected my work and my cricket as I am a wicket keeper. I will show this article to my doctor next time I see him

  38. I quit antidepressants (tricyclics) after many many decades.(I kept telling the doctor, they didn’t help. I did not have the confidence to quit until two years ago.) I noticed no difference except after I quit I had symptoms, like nausea. I also started to experience Ocular Migraines (no pain), just double vision for a few minutes, or flashers and floaters for a while. I haven’t had one for a while. (it’s been two years since discontinuing the antidepressants.) It’s been several months now, without the visual problems.

  39. I’ve been on a few different combinations of these drugs off and on over the last 10 years. Sertraline and Celexa, Seroquel, and Mirtazapine. Side effects in the past have been common and mild – slight vision blurring, dry mouth, ocassional muscle twitches. However, after being off all drugs for a few years, I was put on higher doses of Celexa + Seroquel, then Sertraline + Mirtazapine, and am now having some very strange and scary side effects. My vision is definitely much worse, where a recent eye exam indicates that I should now be wearing glasses for distance. I also had an increase in eye floaters. A thorough retinal exam indicates the start of PVD in both eyes and a retinal tear in one eye that has been repaired and several additional retinal tufts in both eyes that need to be strengthened. At 43, it’s not altogether uncommon to have PVD, but it’s not typical either. I’m having severe dry eye problems with ghosting in both eyes, that resolves when wearing pinhole glasses. Upon waking, and staring at the ceiling I can see a distinct geometric pattern of large dots in my vision that tends to be in a greenish, yellowish hue, that disappears after a minute or two. Also, I’m having the ocassional visual aura in the lower and nose-side of the visual field of my left eye. I have no previous history of migraines or aura. The aura doesn’t last long, but it looks like the reflections you see on the top of water on a windy day and tends to be greenis-white in hue. The most concerning visual issue I’m having now is a persistent aura in the nose-side of my left eye visual field that appears to be rectangular in shape, but it can fluctuate a bit. Luckily it’s mostly in the peripheral area of the visual field, and not very bright, so it’s affecting my vision a bit but not significantly. It is greenish-gray when my eye is closed and purpleish-gray when my eye is open and also seems to be filled with some static depending on the current lighting situation. Initially, I thought it was related to the retinal tear, but the retina specialist indicates that I have not had any retinal detachment. Also, while getting to sleep I will see morphing colored blobs, brief flashes of multi-colored static in my visual field, not bright, but enough to notice and cause concern. After my next follow up with the retina specialist, I may try consulting a neuro opt to see if this is related to the meds. All of this seems to have started after this new round of meds, although the retinal tear complicates the matter and may be the cause of these visual symptoms.

  40. Just an addition to my previous comment, which I forgot to mention. I’m also having persistence-of-vision issues, with strong after images that last for 3 to 4 seconds after the visual stimulus is removed.

  41. Have been on various ssri’s and tri-cyclics for anxiety without any problems however 3 years ago I was prescribed paroxetine. Advertised as having “absolutely no side affects” (I had read that there were lots of side-affects but my G.P reassured me that this was bogus. To cut a very long story short, after 11 months of appalling withdrawal I have been clear of all medication now for a week….. However since quitting my eyes which were slightly affected, are now really playing up. I cannot focus, I have flashing lights and residual images. I am booking an appointment with my G.P on Monday. What I really want to know if there is a ‘recovery’ period or is the eye/neurological damage permanent??? I am really struggling. So glad to have found all of this now!

    • It’s been 12 years since I took seroxat and my vision is no better. I think it’s going to be permanent for me 🙁

  42. I am experiencing some very scary vision/cognitive issues. I take Abilify, Lithium, wellbutrin. I see the world as if my pupils are dilated. I have light sensitivity as well. It makes it difficult to navigate through the day, and gives me headaches.

  43. This post is old so I’m not sure if I’ll get any replies but I need help! This is the post I’ve been hunting the web for, for 12 years. I’m currently banging my head against a brick wall with the nhs who won’t properly look into my symptoms. I’m adamant that seroxat caused the exact same symptoms as AS describes. Any help at all would be gratefully received. Thanks.

  44. i took 1 sertraline 50mg antidepressant 2 days ago i was prescibed i got horrible side effects and blurred vision all the side effects have gone now but the vision is still very slightly blurred im shocked this can still be from 1 tablet has anyone else had this?

  45. The worst eye problems I experienced were with Effexor. I felt like the path between my eyes and brain were electrified. I could feel and hear zaps of electricity running thru me. Seemed like every time I blinked it would get worse.
    I finally asked my doctor to switch me, because if was starting to worry it would not ever go away. Even off the drug, the eye zapping side effects lasted more than 2 months. Years later I will experience a temporary recurrence.

  46. I’m kind of having the opposite problem… I was on Seroquel for 9 years and since my doctor weened me off I’ve noticed that my eyesight is far more blurry and my pupils are constantly EXTREMELY dilated. My pupils started dilating quite soon after I was weened off the Seroquel, but I didn’t notice my vision starting to blur until a bit over a month of being completely off of it.

  47. I have vision problems with divalproex sodium er (depakote er) and they got/get worse adding lorazepam. A strange wavy vision, constant blurred vision, after images.

  48. I have had all of these symptoms and not one person can seem to figure out what is wrong with me! I took one dose of 20mg paroxetine in July of 2015 and it is now November and while all of the other symptoms are gone like the nausea, fatigue, spinning feeling etc. my vision problems are still there and seem to have been consistent. I could not put it into words more perfectly than this post. I have been to two primary cares physicians, ophthalmologist, neurologist, MRI, EEG, and everything has come back normal. I have an appointment with an optician in few days to see if I need me contact lense prescription changed (highly doubt it considering I have had the same prescription since 18 and I am only 23 and vision changes occurred only after taking paroxetine) and if that doesn’t work my neurologist said to come back. I feel pretty hopeless at this point. I wonder if I will ever get to live my life normally again. I can’t drive at night and working is very difficult considering I have to stare at my computer all which makes the problem worse. I was prescribed the medication for anxiety and it has done nothing but make my anxiety worse. I hope the damage is not permanent and I pray every do to get better but it seems like it won’t and most doctors treat me like it’s all in my head or send me to someone else. If this has happened to anyone else and you are being treated for it please let me know.

  49. My vision still continues to get worse even though I’ve been off medication for over 5 years now. I believe it put my brain into a permanent migraine aura state.

  50. I will try to get electroretinogram ordered. For years now I’ve been going to the optometrists and ophthalmologists with complaints about my blurred vision and other visual problems, that come and go. I finally had cataract surgery only to discover that it did NOT help- I still have severely blurred vision, often in only one eye, but not always the same eye. It seems like there are clouds that obscure my vision sometimes. At my last exam by an ophthalmologist I was told that I have a “wrinkled retina” (macular pucker) but when pushed, the doctor admitted that it was very mild and that it could not explain the difficulties I am having. Most especially that if the problems were due to the macular pucker, they would not change from day to day. I will have days, or hours, when my vision is fine. Other times I can barely see at all and need to ask for help in stores reading labels etc.
    During this period of time I have tried unsuccessfully to go off of a very high dose of lexapro (40mgs) I’ve been on lexapro for 13yrs. The eye issues have been esp bad after going off the lexapro abruptly and then going back on it many months later.
    I’m due for another eye exam in 9 mos, I will push for more testing. There are days when I need to use a magnifying glass to read small print, and yet I score 20/20 and 20/30 on eye exams. I don’t understand how I can “see” this well, as the test seems to show, and yet not be able to see, at the same time. I remember talking to someone about how vision is more than what happens in your eyes/retina, etc, it’s what your brain does with that information. So to me, it seems my brain is not able to use the incoming images properly at certain times, and can process them just fine at other times. Hopefully I can convince the doctor to do further tests.

  51. I have what I’ve called ‘purple haze’ from sertraline for a number of years. I used to get it more when on higher doses but it never fully went when on lower ones. I only told my doc about it coming back today. I’d got quite scared things had got out of control. It’s not really an ‘episodic’ thing like with auras. It’s there all the time and sometimes extends to distortions in my hearing too. Like I hear sirons and car horns in the radio or I hear music when in heavy traffic if that makes sense. It’s quite pretty but really shouldn’t be there.
    Much much worse in low light. Especially when there are bright lights about. Eg night driving or being outside in busy lit streets in the city where there is a multitude of different light sources.
    Things move, waver, pulsate and flicker across my vision in many neon colours (lots of purple hence the name).
    Movement causes trails or cascades of sparkling droplets. It feels like I can move the air around with my hands.
    During the day colours glow like they’re alive and the walls ‘breathe’ and quiver. The world is more than 3d. It’s like it’s in 4d if that’s even a thing.
    Did anyone get any answers from any tests?
    My doc decreased my sert to 50mg from 75mg and we are waiting til it goes. I’m also on 37.5mg mirtazapine too but it was added only last year and I don’t think it makes it any different. It’s deffo the sertraline.

    Thanks for any input

    Natalie

  52. I have been on many anti-depressants for almost 30 years now. I’m also on topamax for migraines (for about 12 yrs). Didn’t notice my eyesight deteriorating until the last 2-3 years, also my eyes easily irritated by the light. Can’t wait to see an ophthalmologist after reading all of these posts! 🙁

  53. I quit effexor 2 years ago after being on it for 2.5 years. Got visual snow from the first dose. And light sensitivity that is still getting worse

  54. I have had enduring eye problems now since I tapered 225 mg of Effexor. My optician kept telling me my eyes were fine, but I insisted that they send me to an opthamologist at the local hospital, who also told me my eyes were fine. I asked for an electroretinogram which they reluctantly referred me to and it showed some kind of abnormality at the back of my eye which they refer to as a ‘subtle abnormality’. (My eye!!!!)
    Anyway, now, I want to ask for the test results so I can ask for another referral to Miss Dayan for a second opinion, and they are reluctant to do this. On my last doctors visit, my GP implied that she couldn’t even see evidence on the portal that the test even took place!!! (Total mince… they are stonewalling me and reluctant for me to have access to the results)
    The symptoms show themselves when I try to move my eyes or my head. My eyes seem to move much slower than my head resulting in me bumping into stuff, and being generally clumsy! I was told these drugs contain heavy metals, and I wonder if there are deposits in my brain resulting in some kind of neurological problem… any insights and ideas would be welcome!

  55. I have been on Sertraline 50mg – 100mg since 2002 and am currently weaning myself off. I am on 25mg now. Over the past few years I have had an annual appointment at Moorfields Eye Hospital where they diagnosed AZOOR. My peripheral vision is awful, in other words. I have a lot of flashing lights in my left eye too, particularly when I am tired. I asked the doctor if this could be related to Sertraline (I have asked this every year I have had an appointment) and the doctor dismisses the link immediately.

  56. I started taking Citalopram 20MG only a month ago. And I’m having blurry vision. I use reading glasses all of the time. It’s just been within the past week that all of the sudden I needing much stronger reading glasses.How random that I considered doing a search for ” blurred vision and SSRI’s” and found over seventy posts just right here. But I’m also so spaced out and forgetful these days that I probably won’t anything. One I won’t do is sleep. Nope don’t do much of that since starting this med.
    I live in New Mexico and seeing a psychiatrist is a rare opportunity. I’m on a waiting list. I actually got this perception over a year ago from my Gynecologist and it has been in the medicine cabinet. And only took it because I’ve had to wait almost two months for an appointment with a GP and of course because I was/am/was/am… well anyone taking SSRI’s understands.

  57. Antidepressant type medications very definitely cause blurry vision for me. I am now taking 25 mg of Pristiq because that’s the dose the company has produced for people trying to taper off of it. I have been prescribed low doses of antidepressants over the years for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which have since been ruled out! No wonder the various antidepressants were so hard to tolerate and didn’t help my fatigue. I know the antidepressants caused blurry vision because when I would go off of them my eyesight would sharpen back up again. I don’t know if it will now because I have since had my lenses replaced due to cataracts. My vision was so blurry I couldn’t even see the largest letters on the chart. People with cataracts usually claim that colors are brighter or their vision less foggy. Mine was just so blurry that my husband’s face across the table was blurred.

  58. I am convinced that SSRIs are not the only medicines inducing eye problems.
    Many medicines are inducing defective vision, in many people and I am very worried that pharmaceutical companies are not divulging this kind of information.
    If one has a procedure to correct defective vision, induced by meds,the additional medicines given pre op/ post op, may further induce other catastrophic problems.
    Does one put up with the problem or look forward to perhaps a decline in health for the sake of having ‘better vision’?
    What if the problem can not be resolved due to the individuals meds causing further deterioration of eye sight?
    When defective vision can not be restored and they try the conventional methods and fail, they then may blame it on something else.
    For example: macular degeneration, choroidal metastasis, retina detachment, inflammation of the cornea etc………
    If medicines are causing defective eyesight and the vision can not be restored, honesty is the best policy.
    The humane way is the best way.

  59. I admire masters of their profession however, I don’t trust Big Pharma.
    My eyesight has deteriorated profoundly, since my horrific experience with an adverse drug reaction.
    It continues to deteriorate however, I am trying to slow down the process of attrition by keeping myself healthy and eating all the right super foods.
    I can afford to do this however, many unfortunate people can’t because they are on a treadmill of ‘endless cocktails of medicines’.
    What does a poor patient do when they have to watch what vegetables and foods they eat and they are unable to participate in maintaining optimum eyesight due to the meds they take?
    Big Pharma, this is not quality of life.
    This is like being chained to the devils clutch ~ no control and no quality of life!
    Meds, more radiation and unable to enjoy healthy eating seems like deterioration of the whole vital system which keeps us well and fully alive.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could ditch all the meds and start all over again!
    Once you are on that horrendous treadmill it is very hard to get off.
    It seems like every organ of your body is attacked by these dubious meds.
    It is never ending………………………………………….. : (
    The body, despite all good intentions, will never be the same again!

  60. I was on the maximum dosage of Effexor SR for several years. Around the time I started taking it, I was diagnosed with astigmatism and 8 years later I was diagnosed with Kerataconus. Coincidence?

  61. I’ve had multiple little eye infections since discontinuing Cymbalta a year ago. The doctor says the infections have no known cause and are specific to soft contact lens wearers. I’ve worn soft contacts for 30 years and this last year is a first for these infections. They are coming on in both eyes (not simultaneously). They make my eyes burn and make me light sensitive. Doc says it’s clumps of white blood cells. It’s leaving tiny scars each time. I believe it has something to do with damage to my immune system. I wear disposable contacts.

    🙁 If anyone else is experiencing this phenomenon, please reply. Thanks.

  62. Challenge me, either an optometrists or ophthalmologist.
    I believe that many meds, combined with the impact of radiation, form hard plaques behind the lining of the eye.
    Even young people are having some much problems with defective vision.
    Too much technology is causing defective vision which may perhaps be the reason why we see so many young people with myopia.
    Not enough sunlight, too much of the eyes focusing on technological software and poor diet lead to increasing the strength of the glasses.
    It seems like the younger generation will experience further deterioration of eyesight because of stronger magnification of lenses inducted at such a young age.

Leave a Reply