Vision Problems from Fluoroquinolones

vision-problems

A few years ago, I was chatting with a work associate about fluoroquinolone toxicity, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had lost her vision after taking ciprofloxacin. Yes, you read that correctly–her friend LOST HER VISION as a result of getting floxed. I was shocked and appalled. Losing my energy was bad enough, I can’t even fathom going blind, even temporarily, from taking an antibiotic. My associate’s friend had to take more than a month off of work, and several months off from driving, in order for her eyes to heal and her vision to return to a level at which she could return to doing those things. Her vision did return, and I believe that this was her only side-effect, but still, losing one’s vision is a pretty serious and severe side-effect. I’d be pretty upset if I COULDN’T SEE as a result of taking an antibiotic.

I have heard from many other people who have suffered from vision problems, including blurred vision, floaters, dry eyes, “visual snow,” and a loss of comprehension of visual information, post-flox.

In a comment on this site, Joyce described her vision problems as follows:

“Could Levaquin caused my visionroblem that happened sudden? Yes, I can type but onlyk because I’ve done years and years of 12-18 hour days of typing so as long as I know where the keyboard is, I can type — can barely see the letters so errors elude me.

Sunday, October 9, 2016, myvision went from being okay to not there in the blink of an eye — literally. My husband and I were eating lunch in a restaurant, someone sat down at a table near us, I glanced over, when I glanced back at my husband, my vision was gone except for a narrow bright white area to the right and bottom of my vision field. Called optometrist, he initially diagnosed a pin stroke and told me to go to ER, so I did. CT at ER showed nothing but as precaution, was given TPA and flown to major hospital. Three CT scans there showed nothing. Ultrasound of heart showed it to be in good shape. Cholsterol loa, blood sugar low, BP kept dropping on its own so docs happy with all that. MRI showed “shadow” in right temporal lobe — docs didn’t know if it was bleeding or what, nor how long it had been ther enor if it would go away.

Upper left quadrant of visual field seems as if I’m looking through a dense brown fog. Rest of visual field is useable — can get around on my own, do housework, walk, etc., but can’t see to drive, read nor do my job which is thypesetting and graphic design. Dark area has decreased by about 70% since initial onset but isn’t improving past that.”

In “Painful Dry Eyes” on www.fluoroquinolonethyroid.com, JMR describes her post-flox dry eyes as follows:

“The severely dry eyes affected everything: my ability to read, to watch TV, to use the computer, to write, to look out on the world; to be athletic, to be outside in the wind or cold night air; to blink the 23,000 -30,000 times a day the average person blinks without feeling the dry, gritty pain with each one of those blinks; to sleep at night without waking up constantly in pain just from my dry eyes alone. There’s “dry eyes”, and then there’s “Bone-Dry eyes” – zero moisture what so ever – and I simply couldn’t live a life worth living with that.”

The warning label for Cipro/ciprofloxacin notes that, “blurred vision, disturbed vision (change in color perception, overbrightness of lights), decreased visual acuity, diplopia, eye pain, tinnitus, hearing loss, bad taste, chromatopsia” are special sense related adverse-effects that have been reported. The warning label text feels so flippant–as if decreased visual acuity and/or eye pain aren’t serious, life-altering, horrible side-effects for a drug to have. Did anyone’s doctor warn them that they may have long-term vision problems as a result of taking Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, or Floxin/ofloxacin? No? I didn’t think so.

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If you read the full “Painful Dry Eyes” post on www.fluoroquinolonethyroid.com you will note the connections that the author makes between thyroid hormone (and iodine) levels and the severity of her eye-related fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms. If you read through more posts on www.fluoroquinolonethyroid.com you will see that there are many connections between fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms and thyroid hormones. A summary of the connection can be seen in the post “Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics and Thyroid Problems: Is there a Connection?” on www.hormonesmatter.com.

It is clear from patient reports that fluoroquinolones badly affect hormonal stability and balance. The site, www.fluoroquinolonethyroid.com, goes over how thyroid hormones are adversely-affected by fluoroquinolones. Patient stories such as Andrew’s Story and Gary’s Story go over how fluoroquinolones deplete testosterone. Many women have reported that their fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms are greatly affected by hormonal fluctuations that correspond with their menstrual cycles. Additionally, in the article “Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” several endocrine-system disorders are listed as risk factors for fluoroquinolone-related musculoskeletal problems.

Hormones also greatly affect vision and eye health. In “Blinded By Side Effects: Vision and Hormonal Birth Control,” Kerry Gretchen states:

“Hormones affect every system of the body so perhaps it should come as no surprise that they can greatly impact your vision. In fact, it is the fluctuation in hormones that is the primary reason for worsening eyesight with age. So of course, manipulating the body’s natural chemistry by using hormonal birth control can cause a variety of vision problems.”

Blinded By Side Effects: Vision and Hormonal Birth Control is an interesting and insightful post that I recommend you read for more information about the hormone-vision connections. Though it focuses on how hormonal birth control affects vision–not on connections between fluoroquinolones, hormones, and vision problems–the connections just between hormonal disturbances and vision problems are interesting and relevant to “floxies” of both sexes.

I believe that post-flox vision problems are related to hormone imbalances. Working with a good doctor to help get your hormones back in balance (or, at least to run some tests) seems like an appropriate course of action for any “floxies” who are suffering from severe, life-altering, vision/eye related side-effects. Hormones are notoriously difficult to balance though, and caution is warranted. “Balancing your hormones” may be easier said than done, but working on it, and getting information from a doctor who works with patients with hormonal problems, seems like a good path to start down.

Time may also help. My peripheral vision floaters went away less than a year after getting floxed, and my eye moisture returned a few years after that. (My eyes were never dry to the point that they were painful, but I didn’t wear contact lenses for a while post-flox. I can wear them again.) I can’t pinpoint anything specific that helped other than time and maybe acupuncture. My vision problems weren’t near as bad as those of my work associate’s friend, Joyce, or JMR though. If my symptoms had been that severe, I probably would have been willing to try pharmaceutical and/or supplemental hormonal adjustments.

As is the case with most fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms, there is no cure for vision-related fluoroquinolone toxicity issues, and even getting recognition of the reality of the multifaceted adverse-effects of these drugs is difficult.

Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms are severe, fluoroquinolones adversely affect multiple bodily systems including vision, and the symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity are often not reversible through medical interventions. Therefore, fluoroquinolones should not be prescribed unless absolutely medically necessary. This isn’t that difficult a concept–it should be reality.

 

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20 thoughts on “Vision Problems from Fluoroquinolones

  1. kris t November 3, 2016 at 6:36 am Reply

    Lisa, I still have double vision and I feel that resulted from taking Cipro a year ago. Fortunately, I can wear glasses with prisms in them and that has helped somewhat. It became worse after I had surgery and the anesthesia or perhaps it became worse after surgery because they gave me meds like Advil. In any event, it has never gone away and the doctor feels it will never go away. Kris T

  2. Greg Spooner November 3, 2016 at 7:23 am Reply

    I immediately and suddenly came down with severe floaters while on Cipro. I had portions of my optic nerve die, leaving me with a blind spot (thankfully, only in one eye); this also happened immediately and worsened over the following 6 months. On top of all this, I also developed dry eye. Unlike some FQ symptoms, none of this has even partially resolved in the 6+ yrs since I was floxed.

  3. Lynda Smith November 3, 2016 at 1:02 pm Reply

    While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what my vision problems have been after having been floxed on March 13, 2015, they are there. As a consequence, I have had to hire drivers to take me to unfamiliar places not too far away as a result of visual disturbances. Extreme dry eyes with grittiness set in right away. I have experienced blurred vision, double vision, and other irregularities which come and go, none occurring at the time of my eye exam by the ophthalmologist. One thing is certain: at age 72, I was damaged by ciprofloxacin (tendons, ligaments, muscles, eyes, ears, nerves, etc.) and have endured chronic and widespread body pain ever since. This site has been a lifesaver; whether or not the suggestions have proven helpful in every case, it gives us all hope for recovery.

  4. Susan November 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm Reply

    My retina torn last year while moving. This is five years after taking the Levaquin.

  5. Melanie Kemp November 3, 2016 at 5:20 pm Reply

    My vision is definitely not the same. Glasses wise it hasn’t changed but it feels different.
    Night driving is difficult. I get halos around lights. It’s like watching a sparkler firework.
    Nerve damage maybe?

    • E Wall November 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm Reply

      Oh my goodness, I have had the halos also. It was definitely like a sparkler firework! I never connected it to my floxing till I read this. It happened a number of times and lasted the better part of a day. Scared the heck out of me when it happened. Thankfully it’s been awhile since the last occurrence.

  6. Steven W. November 3, 2016 at 8:37 pm Reply

    I am sorry for being a stranger and hope all is well, Lisa. Had to post that I have had severe damage and pain to my eyes as well, mostly my left, which radiates with my brain connecting with the rest of my pain from somewhere else. And on and on. The last Eye Doctor told me that steroids can be leading my eyes to cataracs on top of the nerve damage. Too young for this, and started over ten years ago. Eye pain and dryness is horrible, yes bone dry feeling. Just to add, my left eye pain, which radiates, feels like someone at some point pulled it out and smashed it. No kidding. It sounds bad right? Once again, there is always much more today, and these people have become warriors.

  7. jwinn November 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm Reply

    My vision has deteriorated GREATLY! I have SEVERE dry eyes, and have developed glaucoma and a cataract since being floxed. I do not drive long distances. I am dreading the time change because I can no longer drive at all at night due to night blindness. The list just goes on and on………

    • kris t November 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm Reply

      I also have the dry eye problem, I am trying a new dry eye drop that was recently introduced on the market called Xiidra. (not sure of the spelling) I will let everyone know how it works. I have to use the eye ointment at night, otherwise, my lids will not open and I have to pry them open. Kris T

  8. Martin November 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm Reply

    Blurred vision in the mornings, floaters, gritty and weeping eyes. Painful eye sockets when you press them. Dark circles under eyes and sore lower eye sockets that feel crystallised beneath the skin. Visual aura and migraine like symptoms at first but these have now disappeared. How can these drugs still be used for simple infections? In fact, these drugs should be withdrawn. I took cipro.

  9. Judith November 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm Reply

    Please change my email address from judiths@teleport.com to judeastringer@gmail.com
    the site below to manage subscription wants me to create a website/blog, no way to change email address
    Thank you

  10. Cheryl Jessen November 5, 2016 at 2:56 pm Reply

    I took generic Levaquin and have a vitreous detachment in both eyes. The left eye is quite blurry and I have a lot of dark floaters in my right eye. Both eyes are very dry also.

  11. scott Forman November 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm Reply

    You suddenly lose vision and go to an optometrist? You should have seen a Neuro-ophthalmologist immediarely. I don’t believe a diagnosis has b een made as to why you lost vision. You should have had an mri of the brain and more importantly orbits with and without contrast
    And what exactly defines this ad related to fluoriquinolones?

  12. tarkonis March 30, 2017 at 12:13 am Reply

    It’s 19 months for me and I still have loads of floaters. My worst symptom is a curtain of static that came on minutes after taking my second dose. I also have negative after images burned into my vision. As a result I can’t look at faces because they look horrifying. Nothing has aided this symptom and it persists 24 7

    • kris t March 30, 2017 at 5:53 am Reply

      Tarkonis, You must see an eye specialist about this. Surely they can do something about it!! Although I still have the double vision and they can do nothing about it, except I am wearing prism glasses which helps a lot. Glad to hear you are still among us. Kris T

  13. kris t March 30, 2017 at 5:59 am Reply

    Steven and jwinn, I use Systane Gel at night and it helps a lot for my dry eyes. Its a lubricant eye gel. I tried that new product Xidra for the day but it blurs your vision and also gave me headaches, so I am just using regular drops during the day. (let alone it was $400 a month and my insurance would not cover it) Have not dried Restasis. Has anyone tried Restasis? Kris T

  14. Tara March 31, 2017 at 11:24 am Reply

    I have it all! This by far is the worst and most debilitating post-floxing cluster of symptoms for me, although I have many more symptoms, as I had LASIK and crystal clear 20/20 vision before taking Cipro and flagyl in October and now I have SEVERE dry eyes, ZERO tear production and needed collagen plugs, constant curtain of black floaters, visual blurring, I feel like I could wipe my vision away if I touch my eyes.They feel like they could fall out at any time, especially if I bend over. I have eye pain and tenderness to the touch. Extreme light sensitivity! Using the computer is difficult. I can’t process black and white together. High def. color hurts my eyes. I can’t watch TV or read. I work, but struggle throughout the day, as most of my work entails using the computer and reading. I can’t afford to lose my job, though. My eyes and brain can’t handle fluorescent lighting anymore. In fact, my eyes and brain seem disconnected totally at different times throughout the day. I can’t make out faces from a few feet away or at a distance. I can’t see much of anything on overcast days. I feel like I am crossed-eyed, even though I look completely normal and no one would know the sheer terror and pain and I am experiencing with this process. My eyes don’t seem to converge together at times. At times it seems like I am seeing right through things, like someone erased my frontal lobe and processing abilities. It is so scary! I feel like I could lose my vision totally at any minute. I have glimmers of hope when I think things are improving, but then I have times where I can’t see at all and wonder if this is the moment it all comes crashing down. I have been to the eye doctor and they noted the severe dry eye. I go back next month for a follow-up. They didn’t seem too concerned about the floaters; however, I am also finding out that most doctors are not there for you when you go in and tell them you had a reaction to a FQ. They write you off as anxious… and now I’ve graduated to “conversion disorder!” I am retraumatized day in and day out and angered that these drugs are given for simple infections that will likely even clear up on their own. I was given these medications in the ER. I knew about the FQ and specified that I didn’t want that medication. The resident laughed and said, “All antibiotics have side-effects!” I then said, “But I know that one of the classes causes many more damaging and life-altering ones and I don’t want that one.” The nurse then brought in my “cocktail” cup of three different medications and… here I am! It’s sad that there is no recourse. I feel stuck somewhere between the Twilight Zone and Hell!

  15. S P May 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm Reply

    I took cipro for 2 weeks 10 months ago and if I knew the eye problems I was going to have I would have thought twice about taking it. The kicker is I found out I didn’t even have an infection after all, the doc put me on these pills just in case. Never again.

    My vision has been blurry for almost a year now. My eyes used to get very red and painful and I would get head aches. Now that I take Alrex (corticosteroid drop) and Pazeo the redness and pain is fixed. I take dry eye drops, ointments and claritin and I still have problems. The doctors say I have chronic allergic conjunctivitis and dry eyes and it’s probably due to allergies that I never knew I had. They say take the eye drops and live with it, but it’s affected my ability to drive and work and it’s driving me up a wall. I have no other allergy symptoms!

    These problems just magically appeared a few days after finishing my course of cipro. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’m finding it harder to believe that the longer this goes on. Hoping for a recovery in time.

  16. Ruth Young June 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm Reply

    After my first pill (Cipro 500 mg) I suddenly could not read or use my iPhone without taking my glasses off. I was 45, so definitely approaching age related presbyopia, but I did not have it yet. Since I am very near sighted, if I remove my glasses which correct for distance I can see close up. Prior to Cipro I did not need to do this.

    Around age 48 (almost 49) it changed again so that I was having difficulty seeing my music sometimes and I did end up getting intermediate distance glasses for playing organ. The first change happened exactly the day I took that first Cipro. That cannot be coincidence. I thought as I healed it would get better, and maybe it would have, but then true age related presbyopia caught up with me. I think just about everyone by age 49 will have that issue. But at 45 I did not. Until the very day I took Cipro. It’s like the Cipro aged me prematurely.

    I have the floaters too but now at over three years out they are getting better. I had floaters before but they always responded to hyaluranic acid. The post Cipro floaters did not. I read that there are a lot of GABA-a receptors in the eyes, so maybe it was from those being downgraded.

    I had one vitreous detachment post Cipro but I had one prior too. May have more to do with my myopia than anything else. For awhile during my first year out my eyes were dry and red but that went away.

  17. Linda June 26, 2017 at 11:13 am Reply

    Three weeks after cipro at my annual eye exam it was discovered that both of my retinas had holes in them. I had to have Laser done. After 3 years I still have floaters.

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