Welcome once again to my blog, i hope this writeup finds you well. As the new cases of the novel corona virus continue to sprang up all across the globe i would like to admonish all of us to continue adhering to the stipulated guidelines and protocols that we may stay safe.
Today i want us to take a look at the effects of steroid use on our eyes and how to avoid this situation or effect from happening to us or what we ought to should we notice this already happening.
Steroids are one of the most used drugs on the market, mostly because lots of condition have to do with inflammation and it is the best form of treatment for inflammatory related conditions. Generally some common side effects of long term steroid use include osteoporosis where our bones thins out and become weak, higher chances of getting microbial infections due to its ability to suppress the immune system, there is also the chance of getting high blood sugar levels which may exacerbate diabetic condition or lead to one but what we may not know that it has a high potential of causing blinding conditions or worsening already existing ocular conditions into blindness when things are not done right.
Bruises, Glaucoma and Cataract
Before you optometrist would give out any form of steroid eye drop he or she would have performed enough tests to be well informed that there are no bruise of any kind on the eye. This because steroid inhibit the healing process of the eye especially on the cornea and may easily cause bruised corneas to scar which would inhibit light from reaching the eye resulting in loss of visual field based on the location of the scar or blindness should it be large enough to block light completely.
Then there is the issue of cataract which is one of the leading causes of blindness across the globe. Frequent use of steroidal eye drops may promote the growth of cataract on the lens within the eyeball. I am yet to read any research which elaborate on the time span usage and the cataract formation however it believed that higher doses increases ones chances of developing steroid induced cataract and that children are more susceptible than adults.
Eye drop steroids are also known to increase the intraocular pressure of the eye which is already one of the major risks factors for developing glaucoma. For individuals who may already be glaucoma suspects or has a high risk of developing glaucoma and alternative to steroid may be highly recommend till there is no other option.
What you can do
Both ocular and systemic steroids are not supposed to be taken on a long term, unfortunately for steroid eye drops it may be easily accessible that systemic steroids and so patient may end up buying an eye drop again after use instead of going back to the optometrist. Doing this put you at risk of developing the condition already discussed above.
However, the eye as delicate a structure as it is, it is also very good at protecting itself and reversing lots of bad things that happen to it, early diagnosis is key though. Should you notice any changes at all with vision after steroid use kindly revisit your primary healthcare provider for reassessment. Stopping the use has the potential of reversing some of the effects and bringing things back to normal.
The purpose of this writeup is not to scare you about the use of steroid eye drops however it is pertinent we seek care from certified healthcare providers and stop the practice of over the counter medication. Knowledge is key, seek information from the right source and always report all ocular emergencies to eye unit.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and have a great week, Special thanks to my mentors and supporters @mcsamm, @tj4real, @armandosodano, @delilhavores, @gentleshaid, @agmoore. For further reading;
Yasir M, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Corticosteroid Adverse Effects. [Updated 2020 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531462/
Shroff, S., Thomas, R. K., D'Souza, G., & Nithyanandan, S. (2018). The effect of inhaled steroids on the intraocular pressure. Digital journal of ophthalmology : DJO, 24(3), 6–9. https://doi.org/10.5693/djo.01.2018.04.001