Published: 2021-05-25

Systemically administered central nervous system drugs induced ocular side effects: a review

Vijayakumar A. R., Prabu Daniel Epison, Kabeera Begum A., Abirami V. P., Ajmal Hussain, Abdul Azeez Kader, Ansar Ali Abdunnasir


Several systemic drugs have reported ocular and visual side effects that affect patient management. It is imperative to be familiar with the associated side effects which can be mild or transient and may seriously threaten vision. This article deals briefly with the mechanisms and reasons that account for the impact that systemically administered central nervous system (CNS) drugs can exert on the visual or ocular system. The eye care practitioner can be instrumental in detecting and reporting ocular side effects, advising patients and collaborating with other members of the patient’s healthcare team. One of the difficulties include becoming familiar with the countless systemic medications prescribed to patients. Another is being able to correlate a particular side effect with a suspected drug. Several of the ocular adverse effects such as glaucoma, cataract, blurred vision, color vision, optic neuritis, maculopathy, dry eye, etc., are vision threatening and often patients fail to recognize or describe the symptoms appropriately. Therefore, physicians and paramedical members like staff nurses, clinical pharmacists and other members must make adequate observations while recommending these drugs to patients.


Systemic administration, Ocular toxicity, Central nervous system drugs, Alcohol, Epileptics, CNS stimulants

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