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Dry eye and birth control

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  • Dry eye and birth control

    Hi everyone!

    I found this website while I was searching for some relief from my dry eyes. It's nice to know that there are so many other people that are experiencing the same problems.

    My dry eye problem began at the end of February of 2006 - almost six months ago. I was started taking Spirnolactone in Janurary for my acne and noticed that I was having irregular menstrual cycles -- I was getting my period every 10 days or so. I didn't realize that the Spirnolactone could be causing this problem, so I went to my family physician who told me to take Ortho Tricyclen Lo for three months. She said that it was such a low dose that I would not notice any side effects. I sure did notice side effects. Seven days after I started taking the birth control, my eyes became extremely puffy, red, and irritated. I was not able to wear my contacts at all. I NEVER had any problems wearing contacts prior to taking the birth control, and I had worn contacts for about eight years. I thought maybe the problem was an allergy and went back to my family practice doctor who said that it was an allergy and gave me some allergy meds. The problem did not go away and continued to get much, much worse. I was putting rewetting drops in my eyes every fifteen minutes because my eyes hurt so much!

    When my eyes did not get better, my family practice doctor referred me to an ophthamologist. The eye doctor said that my eyes were bone dry and prescribed TobraDex to take the inflammation down. He said that he wanted to wait two to three weeks before taking more aggressive action. I continued to take the birth control for another month and half because my family practice doctor said that she did not think the birth control was causing my dry eye problem and that if the birth control was causing the problem, then my dry eyes would get better with time. I went in for allergy testing so that I could rule out allergies as the culprit and discovered that I only have minimal allergies to dust mites and mold, which would not explain the redness and irritation in my eyes.

    I continued taking the birth control for another month and a half and decided the pain was so unbearable that I could no longer tolerate it. My eyes improved somewhat and the puffiness subsided, but they were still bone dry. I later told my eye doctor that I had been taking birth control (I had not advised him of such because my family practice doctor was adament that the birth control was not the cause of my dry eye). My eye doctor put plugs in my lower and upper tear ducts but later removed the plugs in the upper tear ducts because my eyes were too watery. I am using Restasis, and it seems to help except it also makes my eyes very red. I am using warm compresses on my eyes and GenTeal ointment at night. I can no longer wear my contacts, which I absolutely loved wearing. I am clinically depressed because I frequently cry and feel self-conscious about my appearance (the redness of my eyes and the inability to wear contacts). I have even considered going to talk to a therapist, but I feel that he/she will laugh at me because dry eyes seems like such a small problem when you are not a sufferer. I know that I am fortunate that I still have my eyesight and that dry eye syndrome usually does not affect one's vision, but I still feel that I was robbed of my good quality of life. I worry that because I am so young (I am 26) and already have dry eye, that the problem will continue to get much worse. I worry that someday when I am pregnant that I will experience even worse dry eye since many of the hormones in the birth control are also associated with pregnancy. I worry that since I had this severe reaction to the birth control that the pregnancy will cause my dry eyes to become permanently worse. But, then I think, I don't know how much worse that it can get.

    Does anyone know if there is any chance that my eyes will get better since I am no longer taking the birth control, or is the damage already done? Does anyone think that my hormones may be imbalanced since it was the birth control that triggered the dry eye syndrome? I also had two yeast infections while I was on the birth control and am noticing that I am getting the same symptoms of the yeast infection about half way through my menstral cycle. I have been to the doctor numerous times, and she has advised that I do not have a yeast infection.

    I would love to wear my contacts again (and will definitely NOT have LASIK surgery after reading about all the dry eye problems after LASIK) and to go out in public without people asking why I have been crying (even though I have not been crying at all). Most of all, I want relief from the chronic pain of dry eye.

    If there is a doctor reading this, I would love to get your input. It looks like there is a Dr. G that is reading these postings. If you can help, please do. If anyone else can provide input, please do. I need all the help I can get.

    Also, thank you for sharing all of your stories. It helps to know that I am not the only young person in the world with severe dry eyes.


  • #2
    Hi, Julie

    Welcome to DEZ. I am sorry to hear you are going through this. I too have dry eyes. In my case is kind of complicated because I had LASIk back in '97, but I also took BC pills for almost 3 years (Diane-35) to be exact and used minoxidil. I am pretty convinced that the combination of those factors caused my dry eyes since I didn't experience dry eyes right after the LASIk but 6 years after (2 years after starting the BC pills).

    I couldn't tell you that dropping the BC pills several years ago helped my dry eyes (I still have them). Nevertheless, I still used other medications that probably continued agravating the problem (minoxidil for terrible hair loss problem). I read that some drugs are absorbed systemically and minoxidil is one of them, some patients have reported dry mouth and dry eyes because they used minox.

    So what am I doing. I went totally off of all these "medications" I've noticed so far a minimal improvement. I bet it is going to take me a while to actually feel better. I guess after usinng minox for 8 years, BC pills for 3 and God knows what else it will take a long time (only God knows) to get better.

    Good luck


    • #3

      i am 21 have dry eye sparked by antidepressants. I am still suffering 1 year on. I can associate with what your saying being young with this affliction. its not a walk in the park!

      Does anyone know if there is any chance that my eyes will get better since I am no longer taking the birth control, or is the damage already done? Does anyone think that my hormones may be imbalanced since it was the birth control that triggered the dry eye syndrome? I also had two yeast infections while I was on the birth control and am noticing that I am getting the same symptoms of the yeast infection about half way through my menstral cycle. I have been to the doctor numerous times, and she has advised that I do not have a yeast infection.
      Its more than likely that you have a dry eye condition now, as it is a chronic problem. But you can do things to improve the situation. try the supplements and other suggestions from this site.

      As we are young i think there may be something systematic going on, suchas hormone inbalance, autoimmune problem etc. or there may be no ryme or reason why you have dry eye, contact lense wear could be one factor.
      I am getting my hormones tested by a natropath, recently my dry eye was effected by the morning after pill which desrupted things again as my eyes had improved beforehand due to sinus pain.

      I also believe that the flucuations from day to day and constant change from bad dry eye to mild dry eye and sinus pain is systematic.
      I healed my dry eye with nutrition and detoxification. I'm now a Nutritional Therapist at: . Join my dry eye facebook group:


      • #4
        Hi Julie,

        I'm sorry to hear about your problems, but glad you found this site. There is alot of good information here. Sorry if I missed this in your post, but are you still taking the acne medication that originally started the side effects with your menstrual cycle? I know it is said that birth control can cause dry eye, but I believe that some types of acne medication can as well. One for sure that can cause problems with dry eye is Accutane...there are several people on this board with dry eye from Accutane. Anyway, I was just wondering if you were still on the acne medication since that might be causing your problems with dry eyes as well. That might be something to talk to your doctor about. I hope things get better for you soon!



        • #5
          Allergic to Birth Control

          Hi Everyone I wanted to reply on this as I am only 30 years old and recently have been having horrible problems with Birth Control. It actually started about the time when I got dry eye so now I am wondering if maybe it caused me my horrific eye troubles? I get these things on my legs like huge red welts and they turn into bruises. They are called Erythema Nodosum and they are caused by birth control. I've tried everything I could, The Nuva Ring, tons of different pills, the shot and they all cause these things on my legs. I have to take Potassium Iodide pills for the welts to go away, so now I am no longer on birth control? My dry eye has been bothering me for 4 years now, the Restasis isn't helping much, although I see a bit difference in the morning, more mucus and less sand paper dryness, I can now open my eyes but there is tons of gross mucus and yes the strings are still there Like I always say, I could live with the dry eye, if only these mucus strings could go away forever!! Hope all of you are doing good. Ciao Delilah


          • #6
            Hello Julie and sorry you are going through all that. I feel your apain! I too take the same pills you have mentione Ortho tryciclen LOW and actually I've been taking then for a few months. I will try to get off the pill.
            I also get yeast infections (not fun at all) and I have another chronic medical condition: Interstitial csytitis (painful bladder syndrome) which could be really really painful to the point of not being able to function.

            I know dry eye can be very depressing. I have it and bad case.
            And we can't have the luxury of taking antideresants b/c they dry you out. ( I even think that was anotehr factor that contributed my dry eye problem). If you think therapy will help, go for it. They won't laugh at you.

            But I know that this condition can get under control, I got it under control and there were days in which I completely forgot that I have dry eyes!! and I work 8 hrs a day in front of a computer which make things more chanllenging! I'm on a bad flare now because stupidly stopped taking my Omega supplements and also I had a cold with ear infection for which I had to be on decongestants (sudafed) and medrol pack too . That messed me up and now I feel I'm back to square one.
            You just have to be very patient and very persistent, and STICK to the combination of treatments that works for you.
            I'm 34 and sometimes I wonder how it'll be when I'm 60!!! but we have to take one day at a time. Only God knows what the future wil bring. There's always hope.
            Dr eyes caused by long term contact lens wear


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