It is important to know that being depressed is not the same as experiencing sadness. Everyone is sad from time to time. Depression can have many different symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, general sadness, and a loss of interest in day-to-day activities. These symptoms often go on for weeks to months at a time. Medicines are prescribed to help people cope with depression, and these treatments can be used long term or short term to deal with depression.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression, but they fall within the family of drugs treating the way the brain works, so that sometimes means rewiring of nerve centers to change what feels good or doesn’t. Along with dry eye, they also have side effects like dry mouth because your body expends fluid in processing them. While medicines are a wonderful tool in treating depression, they can also have some side effects that are important to be aware of.
Dry eye can be one of the side effects of antidepressants. Some of the common prescription antidepressants listing dry eye as a problem include Paxil, Zoloft, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Celexa.
With more of the population using prescribed antidepressants, including many from the younger generation, it is a general concern for eye health. It is important for people suffering from depression to manage their physical health as much as is possible, because pain and discomfort can contribute to the feelings of despair that characterize depressive disorders.
First and foremost if you are suffering from dry eye and are taking antidepressants, check with your doctor. Changing your medication may resolve the issue. But you also need to know about any possible drug interactions that could happen if you add other medicines or treatments.
The over-the-counter treatments such as artificial tears can contain preservatives. Preservatives can add to the dry eye problem, not solve it, especially if you use them frequently. They can cause permanent problems with dry eye or worsen the end result. Eye specialists (ophthalmologists and optometrists) are a great resource to find treatments for dry eye. Check with your eye doctor. They can recommend the best OTC medicines for you and your medical history. Your eyes are important, so don't ignore them! What have you tried for dry eyes? Have you noticed that your antidepressant makes it worse?
Dr. Travis Zigler
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