A review of ocular complications associated with medications used for anxiety, depression, and stress

Paul A. Constable, Dalia Al-Dasooqi, Rhiannon Bruce, Mallika Prem-Senthil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


This review of commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs aims to update the clinician on possible ophthalmic side effects that may include dry eye, diplopia, mydriasis, and cataracts. This review summarizes our current knowledge of known ocular side effects of psychotropic drugs based on reviews, case reports, case-control studies, a case series, and cross-sectional observational studies reported in the recent literature. The review covers disorders related to depression, anxiety, and stress which are commonly encountered within society and can have debilitating impacts on an individual’s quality of life that may require chronic therapeutic management. The main medications used in the treatment and management of these conditions typically target receptors, metabolic enzymes, or transport pumps that alter the pre-and/or post-synaptic levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and opioids to improve mood and/or relieve pain and anxiety. Novel non-therapeutic options are undergoing clinical trials, and some patients may seek alternative therapies or have associated substance abuse issues to alleviate their symptoms. This review summarizes some of the clinical signs of depression and the main therapeutic options and their reported ocular side effects which may be pertinent today given the rise in use of psychotropic medications used to manage depression, anxiety, and stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Optometry
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2022


  • Drugs
  • Ocular
  • Psychotropic
  • Side effects


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