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Post op vision changes - due to meds?

SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Before the surgery I was just getting to the point where maybe I needed 1.00 reading glasses if I wore my contacts. But with my glasses on I'd just take them off. Now my vision just seems off. So, here's my theory, narcotic dilate the pupils, so can that cause things to be off a bit? Even now, laying down, but typing on my netbook with my lapdesk I am wearing my glasses but everything seems just a bit off.

I am on Opana ER 30 twice a day and Norco 7.5, one or two every 4-6 hr along with muscle relaxants
2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 


  • I'm not sure if this will help or not but I have some minor vision problems and I have to see the Optometrist soon again. I'm nearsighted but had to get bifocals at about age 45 so not sure when you last had your eye Dr. appointment just to make sure everything is okay. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had to chuckle to myself when I read your post, because several years ago I had this same or similar concern. It seemed like almost overnight my vision changed and I worried that it was due to all the medications (narcotics or others) that I was and had been taking for quite some time. A friend of mine who is a very experienced optometrist happened to drop by and I presented him with my concerns.

    First he asked if I was over 40, then he proceeded to tell me that it is not a factor of the medications, but simply a factor of the aging process. Of course this is not something any of us want to hear, but there comes a time when we are faced with it.

    We went to his office and he performed a thorough exam, and found nothing wrong with my eyes other than normal vision changes associated with age. He said that the process is actually fairly gradual, but most people report feeling like it suddenly changed overnight. In actuality it has been occurring over time, just not so noticeable until that one day that we try to read something and our glasses or eyes seem completely ineffective.

    Since as spine patients we tend to be on quite a diet of different medications, it is normal to think that they are the culprit. In actuality, more times than not, it is simply time that is catching up to us in a manner of speaking.

    Of course if you are convinced that there is somehow a connection between your meds, the surgery and your diminished eye sight, schedule an appointment with your optometrist. It never hurts to be cautious.

  • I went to see my optometrist last year and he said that taking high doses of some medication like the co-codomol I was on CAN make changes to your vision especially when taken over a long period of time. He said in some people it was temporary but mostly it was permanent. In my case he was concerned because I am under 40, had been having glasses for distance viewing for over 20 years and suddenly needed glasses for reading as well.
  • Interesting. Since I was told the exact opposite, that short term use could cause blurred vision and issues with night vision, whereas long term use the body adjusts and visual impairment is no longer an issue.

    Vision issues with age are a real concern.
    Presbyopia usually occurs beginning at around age 40, when people experience blurred near vision when reading, sewing or working at the computer.

    You can't escape presbyopia, even if you've never had a vision problem before. Even people who are nearsighted will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision.

    Presbyopia generally is believed to stem from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye.

    These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic over time. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, the eye has a harder time focusing up close.
    I wonder if Optimist is around these days and could weigh in on this discussion.

    Bottom line is you have to trust in your doc. The experiences we all have and share with the forum are just that, "personal experiences".
  • It is true that at 40, eyesight starts to deteriorate. However, some meds and anesthesia can cause eye problems (especially at 40+ yeard old).

    I would contact your eye doctor...
  • Narcotics constrict your pupil. Are you on Lyrica? I am taking Lyrica, and did not know much about the drug, so I read the prescibing information, and it can cause some visual disturbances.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    My boss gave us all, new up to date map books. After a couple of weeks I told him These cheapskates crammed all of the new streets in here without adding any new pages. They just made the print smaller! And I can't read this!
    He laughed and said you just turned 40 didn't you? You dumb Basturd, go get your eyes checked.
    Yep, I did, sure enough...........!!!
    Jim ~X(
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Has affected my vision, as well.

    I am still near-sighted, but I have had to increase my prescription strength on a yearly basis now.

    I'm thinking age 45 will be a good time for everything to settle down and hope to keep all doctor visits to the very minimum!

    I love the new frames that have been coming out. There seems to be a lot of great deals on frames lately, so I need to make time to get an eye exam done and take advantage of the sales!

    When you feel up to it, I would make an appointment to have your vision checked. I hope the change is not related to your medications.

    Wishing you well,

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I should go see the optometrist again when I can. Last April he said I was not quite at the bifocal stage. I started wearing my contacts less since with glasses, I could read smaller print if I just took the glasses off. Right now it's getting to where I need a bit more help even with the glasses off. I have started to try and find some reading glasses. Problem is the +1.25 are too strong. I need cheap +1.00, but these are harder to find (since it's the lowest level). Hubby will check some dollar stores. I do like wearing contacts when I work, so if I go back to work I'll want to wear them but I'm not sure how well I may adjust to bifocal contacts if at all. Luckily they'll give me a trial pair and I can see how they work. I've been out of work since May 2009 and I've only worn my contacts on a few occasions since them (i.e. nephew's wedding).

    Right now I'm on norco, neurontin, opana er, and soma.

    I was just hoping that by some miracle it was only the meds and after I weaned off of them I'd have 30 year old vision again at age 43.

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • When I went to get PRK/Lasik, my eye surgeon said "you know when you turn 42 y.o. your going to need cheater glasses to see close up anyway"- sure enough he was only a couple months off, only use them rarely so far, but I keepa pair of 1.25 around. So, presbyopia (blurred vision close up - when you find yourself actually stretching that book further away) usually strikes around age 41, 42, 43.
    Neurontin & Lyrica cause blurred vision in up to 8% I believe - but most people's eyes actually accommodate and get used to that affect as you stay on the medicine.
  • I used to live in my contacts before the accident. I was very lucky because I could leave them in for months at a time without causing injury to my eyes. Then came that wonderful day last April and everything changed.

    Not sure if the meds were the cause but I couldn't wear contacts for more than a few hours. Last Fall I went for an eye exam before surgery and they gave me progressive glasses.

    I went again right after surgery and that was when I found out that the surgery caused damaged to the para-sympathetic nerve in the neck and my pupils are uneven now and eyelid drops. I am getting worried because I am finding that I actually close that eye completely especially when reading which is making me think it is worse than the surgeon wants me to believe.

    So I do believe the meds can effect your vision both long and short term. However Karin join the 40+ club and get those progressives.

    PS I loved the progressive contacts except the dropping eye lid kept pushing it out of alignment.
  • I'm also gonna add get your blood sugar tested. Some medication raises blood sugar. High blood sugar effects vision. My ex husband was legally blind when his levels were high but when controlled it was near perfect vision.
  • Howdy Spine, :-)

    My flight surgeon had it nailed! He told me that between about 40 and 43, the eyes start going through a lot of changes as the surface of the eye starts to 'harden' and therefore doesn't adjust as readily as when we were younger! (G) Can your issues be due to meds, sure, but I (after seeing your last eye ball exam was almost a year ago?) would see about getting an update on your yearly eye check first. The change you mention too is "small", so that could be you are joining the 'regular' eye changes with age!

    I use the 1.25 - and I have bifocals! Yeah, I am a bit over my year exam anniversary. Lyrica (I take 300mg's a day) DO affect my night vision in so far as light sensitivity, but otherwise, mine is the eyes are 'a changin' again! Please let us know how it goes. Take care. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Well I will have to get my eyes re-examined. With me being on LTD and hubby unemployed it's going to have to wait until we can afford the exam. Hopefully sometime in 2010
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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