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Can Steroids Cause any Eye Problem?

General

Dr Arindam Chakravarti
Dr Arindam Chakravarti
5 min read

Yes, there is a high possibility that consuming unrecommended steroids can lead to cataract formation. Steroids are corticosteroid drugs that include prednisone, glucocorticoid, cortisone, and hydrocortisone. Doctors prescribe these to treat conditions like arthritis, severe skin allergies, lupus, asthma, eye diseases, and to reduce inflammation in the body. Steroids can be in the form of an ointment, eye drops, inhalers, pills, and injections. While doctors prescribe them for certain diseases, patients should be aware of the link between steroids and the side effects associated with it. It is seen that prolonged use of anti-inflammatory steroids has the potential to:

  • Weaken your bones and immune systems
  • Cause diabetes or worsen the existing
  • Cataract formation such as subcapsular cataract
  • Formation of open-angle glaucoma

People consuming oral and inhaled steroids are at a comparatively higher risk of developing a cataract. As a result, the person starts to see glare or halos at night; the person may have blurry vision, double vision, eyelid drooping, problems with peripheral (side) vision and problems seeing at night.

Risk factors

Different bodies react to steroids differently. Some people are more sensitive to steroids and their effects. People suffering from diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, open-angle glaucoma, and nearsightedness are more likely to experience the side effects in their vision. Generally, senior citizens and children under six years old are prone to having eye effects from steroids.

However, this is not only the case but sometimes PSC cataracts (Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts) can also occur in patients who have never taken steroids in any form. A medical consultation is required.

How does it affect and for how long?

Steroids in any form can raise your eye pressure. The eye pressure tends to increase just after a few weeks of consuming steroids. Usually, oral medication and eye drops are responsible for eye problems. But most importantly, it is the duration that affects the most and not the higher dose, but the longer the time period, the greater the risk. So, if you are taking steroids for a long time, you should consult the doctor and go for regular eye check-ups to monitor the eye pressure.

Other Side Effects

It is so important for people to be aware of all the pros and cons so that they consult with eye specialists on time. Ignoring any symptom or an effect can land you in deep trouble. Apart from eye problems such as cataract and glaucoma, there are few other maladies associated with it:

  • Increased appetite
  • Frequent infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Osteoporosis
  • Delayed wound healing

Prolonged use of steroids can cause cataracts or worsen the situation if it is already present. There could be scenarios where blurred vision caused by steroids could be temporary and not very serious. But in all cases, an ophthalmology evaluation is suggested so that any symptom could be checked in depth. Cataract caused by steroids is highly treatable and one doesn’t need to feel too concerned about it.

When to Consult a Doctor?

It is always recommended that if you are consuming steroids, make sure you take the prescribed ones. It is also advisable that you shouldn’t stop taking steroids on your own without prescription as it may cause side effects like fever, joint pain or muscle tenderness. When you consult an ophthalmologist in Delhi, you are given the utmost guidance on your intake for steroids, the medication, and other important parameters as per the condition of your eye. If you are young and consume steroids at a regular level even in the form of a gym or exercise supplement then please be informed that prolonged usage of steroids can cause cataracts and glaucoma too. This is why it is important that you should keep your doctors updated on diet and various things related to your lifestyle. This way, you will be able to control any problem that could have become bigger if not monitored.

There is nothing to worry about if you have been diagnosed with cataracts or are experiencing any symptoms. At Centre for Sight, the patients are provided with world-class treatment and consultation for all kinds of eye problems. By using state of the art and the latest technology, the CFS team makes sure that the procedure is painless, blade-free and provide quick recovery.