Abusing illegal substances has a definite correlation to serious longer-term issues with your vision because of the real damage drugs can do to your eyes. This should not come as much of a surprise since your eyes are fragile things that are only able to function due to a complicated inter-working between glands, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It only needs a single piece of this complex chain to break down for your health of the whole eye to be in jeopardy. Drugs like ice effects on eyes can be significant and long-lasting.
Researchers and scientists state that the following types of eye damage can be caused by using drugs:
- Marijuana – can cause your capability of tracking things using your eyes as they move to be diminished. You could encounter difficulties in differentiating different colors, and you might become sensitive to the light of the sun. Such problems can become permanent over longer-term marijuana use.
- Heroin – use of heroin can lead to eye inflammation. When you inject the drug, this can lead to germs getting into your eyes and body at large.
- Cocaine – Cocaine is a toxin to your cornea, and it also creates ulcers. This is an issue for those who snort or smoke the narcotic. It may also cause blood vessel structures to change within your eyes and cause bleeding or inflammation. Such effects can lead to permanent vision loss.
- Methamphetamines – these substances can lead to a super spike with your blood pressure that can cause severe damage to your eyes. Even after you are clean, these blood pressure spikes can continue. Meth is also able to lead to corneal ulcers, particularly when you smoke or snort the narcotic.
Eye Indicators of Drugs and Alcohol Usage
There are several indicators that doctors can use to determine if you are under the influence of narcotics. The most common could be bloodshot eyes that reveal a high from a few different drugs. These include especially marijuana and cocaine. Still, other drugs lead to watering of the eyes, heaviness of the eyelids, or a changing of the pupil size. Here are several common signs of drug intoxication in the eyes:
- Conjunctive redness more commonly known as bloodshot eyes
- Rapid uncontrolled eye movement known as Nystagmus
- Dilated or constricted pupils
Eye Changes Resulting from Particular Drugs
Various drugs can still cause more severe reactions that are apparent in the eyes. These include the following:
- Benzodiazepines – such medications lead to blurry, double, or otherwise altered vision, while dilated pupils mean that the person has overdosed.
- Amphetamines – such as Molly, Ecstasy, MDMA, and related narcotics create a variation in pupil size as well as blurry vision.
- Crack Cocaine – while the drug is stimulating the brain, adrenaline and endorphins will be released, and the body will respond by dilating your pupils. Overdosing on cocaine can lead to hallucinations that include visual ones.
- Dextromethorphan – this is often found in flue or cold medications, and it suppresses coughs. It can also create the effect of intoxication. Involuntary and rapid eye movements are a symptom of this DXM.
- GHB – Liquid ecstasy can be taken directly into the eyes in the form of eye drops. More often, though, it becomes mixed into an alcoholic drink and taken orally. Hallucinations are a side effect of GHB.
- Nicotine – cigarettes or even e-cigarettes create cataracts in the crystalline lens. This portion of the eye is responsible for processing a third of the image that goes to the brain through its task of focusing light on the person’s retina.
- Hallucinogens – LSD, Mescaline, and other related drugs will create dilation of the pupils. Hallucinations, including visual ones, are another effect of these drugs.
- Inhalants – Paint thinner and nitrous from canisters can create watering and redness in the eyes.
- Heroin – leads to tiredness that causes drooping eyelids. Pupils also constrict to pinpoints when the drug is consumed.
- Ketamine – involuntary and rapid eye movement along with dilated pupils stem from being high on the narcotic-like ketamine. It can also lead to significant visual impairment as with alcohol.
- Marijuana – most commonly causes bloodshot eyes.
- Methamphetamines – involuntary and rapid eye motion are among the most common of symptoms from the intoxication of these drugs, and the movements are commonly ten times the normal eye movement rate.
- Phencyclidine (PCP) – causes involuntary and rapid eye movements, as well as a blank stare that will not react to direct visual stimulus.
- Poppers – severe impacts include vision loss that is irreversible and can even cause brain damage
Substance Abuse Often Leads to Longer-Term Damage of the Eyes
As individuals struggle with their substance abuse over a longer period of time, they will increasingly experience more significant and more severe health problems. Besides eye problems, these can include high blood pressure, diabetes, liver and kidney problems, heart damage, ulcers, and cancer. As far as vision is concerned, long term drug abuse such as ice effects on eyes creates issues with the brain, ocular nerve, and eyeballs. The more serious longer-term issues with the eyes that ongoing drug abuse causes include the following:
- Macular Degeneration – usually plagues individuals over 50, but it becomes increasingly likely and is worse due to substance abuse, particularly tobacco or alcohol abuse.
- Cornea Damage – Keratitis results, leading to a distorted vision from cocaine and anesthetics
- Dry Eyes Syndrome – continuous problems with dry eyes, tear formation, and irritated eye feelings stem from alcohol abuse and drugs that create alcohol intoxication like effects.
- Endophthalmitis – eye infections resulting from the drug-induced inflammation, this commonly results from dirty needle drug injection.
- Glaucoma – thanks to alterations in the blood pressure, the eye can suffer from excessive fluid pressure leading to glaucoma
- HHPD (Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder) – commonly referred to as flashbacks, the condition causes repeated and sudden recurrences of sensory alterations associated with LSD usage. It can lead to hallucinations of things that are not present as well as peripheral vision distortion.
- Lesions – eye drop administered drugs lead to conjunctiva damage in the whites of your eyes and can cause lesions that are not cancerous to form
- Maculopathy – retina degeneration coming from some forms of substance abuse, leads to distortion and blurriness in the central vision.
- Damage to the Ocular Bone – snorting of drugs causes the sinus-surrounding tissue to degenerate. It is most often in the form of septal perforation but can also become pronounced in the upper palate.
- RVOD (Retinal vascular occlusive disease) – blood clots and changes to blood pressure can create this disease in the eye. Retinas begin to experience unusual growth in blood vessels, bleeding, or swelling that can end with complete loss of vision.
- Talc Retinopathy – is a yellow crystalline buildup of particles in the eyes’ vascular areas that results from intranasal or intravenous drug use.
- Toxic Cataracts – cataracts in the eye can result from long term use of drugs because of the poisonous side effects.
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy – a condition resulting from long term alcohol abuse, it leads to disc edema.
- Yellow Eyes – opioids, stimulants, and steroids can create damage to the liver that causes jaundicing of the skin and whitening of the eyes.