What Does Xanax Do to Your Eyes?

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Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is the most frequently prescribed (1) benzodiazepine in the United States. Its primary purpose is for treating anxiety and panic related symptoms. However, due to its potent nature, it can carry a host of undesired side effects. One of the more common side effects of Xanax is its negative impact on the eyes of those who use it.

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Can Xanax Affect Your Vision & Eyesight?

When someone ingests a substance like Xanax, it quickly disperses into the body’s blood stream. From there, it is transported throughout the entire body. It will begin to impact various parts of the body in different ways. Some of the impacts for a substance like Xanax are unwanted. One of these side effects is how Xanax impacts important organs like the eyes.

Some have reported long term Xanax use having a negative effect on their eyes (2). Multiple people surveyed reported that Xanax use has caused various levels of eye dryness and irritation. Other users report Xanax causing forms vision loss.

What Are the Potential Effects on Vision?

Some who have used Xanax for an extended period of time report symptoms of amblyopia. Amblyopia is a condition where the communication between the eyes and brain is disconnected. This condition frequently appears in only one eye, but can cause varying degrees of vision loss. This term is also known as “lazy eye” and can cause a loss of control in the muscles of the eye. If this condition is brought on by Xanax use, often stopping Xanax will reverse these symptoms.

Blurred Vision & Xanax

Another common symptom of Xanax related amblyopia is blurred vision. Blurred vision is a term used to describe the overall distortion of vision as well as conditions like spots or dots that can occasionally appear. These conditions arise from Xanax use because of a miscommunication between the eyes and brain.

Dry Eyes Impact on Tear Production

Healthy levels of tear production are crucial to the eye’s overall health. Without proper lubrication, eyes will become itchy and irritated. After periods of extended Xanax use, many report these exact symptoms. As tear production is limited, the eyes will cause discomfort to many who use Xanax frequently. This condition may be treated temporarily by eye drops, but may require stopping Xanax use altogether.

Xanax & Light Sensitivity

Another common eye condition potentially caused by Xanax (3) use is light sensitivity. Xanax ingestion will often cause an enlargement in the eye’s pupil. This dark region located at the center of the eye is responsible for the amount of light the eye receives. As this area begins to enlarge, more light is let in. This can be an unwanted and uncomfortable phenomena for some who’s pupil dilation is caused by Xanax.

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Can Xanax Cause Eye Fatigue & Strain?

When vision is blurred and eye moisture is decreased, eye irritation can occur. Straining can come as the result of blurred vision. This can result in unpleasant sensations such as itchiness and fatigue. These symptoms are unpleasant at best but may require medical attention if they persist.

Rare Adverse Reactions

Though many of these symptoms are rare, they impact a vital part of the body. Healthy eye function is important to the overall quality of life. Many of the ocular side effects caused by Xanax (4) use can be reversed by simply switching medications. However, in some rare cases, these symptoms may require further medical attention. Side effects, such as dryness of the eye (5), have caused blindness when left untreated for extended periods of time.

Does Xanax Raise Eye Pressure?

In uncommon instances, Xanax has been shown to cause eye pressure. It is because of this that many doctors are hesitant to prescribe Xanax to patients with glaucoma (5). Glaucoma is a condition in which the eyes and brain do not communicate well. It is most often caused by excess pressure in the ocular cavity. Taking Xanax can further increase this pressure and cause an increase in glaucoma symptoms.

Other Adverse Effects

Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine. It interacts with the brain and body to produce a sense of calm. It is for this reason that it is most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic. Xanax produces its calming effects by interacting with potent brain chemicals. Some of these chemicals are responsible for the brain’s reward system. If this happens, some may develop a substance use disorder.

Other potentially dangerous side effects of Xanax use include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sluggishness
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination

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Seeking Treatment for a Xanax Use Disorder

If you or someone you love finds themselves in addictive lifestyle patterns, help is available. Guardian Recovery is a national network of substance use treatment facilities committed to the safe and effective treatment of substance use disorders. Contact Guardian Recovery today to speak with a treatment advisor. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about the substance use treatment process. Your journey to a lifestyle of recovery can start today.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538165/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10947009/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/drugs-xanax#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
  4. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/018276s052lbl.pdf
  5. https://www.drugs.com/disease-interactions/alprazolam,xanax.html#:~:text=The%20manufacturers%20consider%20the%20use,associated%20with%20increased%20intraocular%20pressure

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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