Substance Use

What Does Meth Do To Your Eyes?

woman meth addict with syringe and tired eyes

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What Does Meth Do To Your Eyes?

Methamphetamine use has long-term and short-term effects on the body, including damage to the eyes. But what exactly can happen to your eyes if you use meth?

Addiction to meth can lead to a wide range of health problems. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction or other drug use, it’s essential to understand that help is available. Zinnia Health has addiction treatment programs to help you recover and restore your health. Call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to get started. 

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What Are the Physical Effects of Meth on Your Eyes?

According to MedlinePlus, methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, crank, speed, glass, tweak, chalk, Tina or ice, is a widely available illicit drug.

The truth is methamphetamine use has a significant impact on your eyes. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, a meth user’s eyes move up to 10 times faster than usual. This study also mentions that a common side effect of meth use is dilated pupils. This occurs because the drug stimulates certain areas of the brain that control pupil size and constriction. Dilated pupils can last anywhere from a few hours to several days after using meth.

Meth can also cause severe inflammation of the eyes, redness, dryness, and irritation. It can even lead to corneal ulcers – open sores in the eye’s protective layer – which can cause permanent damage to your sight if left untreated.

1. Short-Term Effects of Meth on the Eyes

As mentioned, one of the effects of meth on the eyes is faster eye movement. This twitching of the eye muscles can cause blurred vision, dry eyes, and light sensitivity.

  • Blurred vision: Meth also affects vision, causing blurred vision or double vision. Blurred vision usually lasts for a few hours after taking meth but can be more severe if larger doses are taken or if it’s been used over an extended period.
  • Dry eyes: Another common side effect of meth use is dry eyes. Dry eyes can cause irritation and discomfort and impair visual acuity and depth perception, making driving more dangerous than usual while under its influence.
  • Light sensitivity: Meth also affects the ability to adjust to changes in light. It can cause an unusually high sensitivity to light, making it difficult and uncomfortable for meth users to be in bright environments.

Methamphetamine addiction can have a variety of physical and psychological effects. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, help is available. Zinnia Health provides comprehensive treatment programs to help individuals recover from addiction. Call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to get started. 

2. Long-Term Effects of Meth on the Eyes

According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, eyesight problems that have been reported from long-term methamphetamine abuse include:

  • Wounds on the surface of the eye (corneal ulcerations)
  • Inflammation of the cornea (Keratitis)
  • Inflammation inside the eye (endophthalmitis)

These conditions can cause vision loss.

According to a further study in the National Library of Medicine, snorting methamphetamine has been linked to the development of crystalline retinopathy, where crystals form in the retina of the eye. This can cause vision impairment, including blind spots and decreased color perception. Crystalline retinopathy can cause a decrease in visual acuity, or the ability to discern fine details.

The same study found that meth use can also cause retinal vascular occlusive disease, where the blood vessels in the eye become blocked. This can lead to profound vision loss if left untreated.

Treatment for Eye Damage Caused by Meth Use

Methamphetamine use can cause a variety of physical and mental health problems, including damage to the eyes. If you think you might have developed an eye problem related to current or past methamphetamine use, talk to your doctor about it so that they can recommend appropriate treatment options based on your individual needs.

  • Medication: Prescriptions such as corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling in the eyes. These medications can help improve vision and minimize discomfort associated with eye damage from meth use.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair any structural damage due to meth use.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle changes can also help reduce the risk of developing eye health problems or slow their progression. Quitting smoking is one example. Cigarette smoke contains toxins that can worsen symptoms associated with eye problems, such as dryness and irritation in the eyes. Additionally, avoiding exposure to bright lights or ultraviolet radiation will help protect your eyes from further harm caused by meth.
  • Eye Drops: Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops may be recommended for people suffering from dryness or irritation in their eyes due caused by methamphetamine use. Eye drops containing antihistamines are sometimes used to relieve itching related to this condition.

The prevalence of methamphetamine use disorder has become a significant public health problem in the United States. To address this growing concern, there is an urgent need to understand more about the connection between meth and eye health to develop preventive measures and treatment plans.

What Are the Main Side Effects of Meth?

Meth use also causes many other problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine overdose deaths rose sharply from 2011 to 2018. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that methamphetamine use can cause cardiovascular, central nervous system (CNS), gastrointestinal, renal, skin, and dental problems.

It can also cause psychological issues, such as depression and increased aggression. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with limited access to mental health care, it’s far too common for people suffering from mental illness or addiction to go without proper treatment.

The unfortunate reality is that in some communities, obtaining illicit drugs is easier than getting the necessary medical support they need. As a result, these individuals are at an even higher risk of developing co-occurring disorders such as addiction and other forms of mental illness.

Self-medicating with substances to treat mental health issues can start an arduous cycle. Substance use to control psychological disorders may lead to substance abuse and in turn make the original psychiatric concern more severe.

When drugs or alcohol are used on a consistent basis, the brain adjusts to this substance dependency. In effect, the neurological systems that respond to these substances become suppressed.

This means if someone is consuming them in an effort to ease their anxiety they will likely experience greater levels of discomfort as their brain has formed an addiction and relies upon these chemical compounds for relief.

Zinnia Health is Here to Help

At Zinnia Health, we understand the impact of methamphetamine use on health and are here to support individuals struggling to quit. We have developed comprehensive rehab programs that focus on our clients’ physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate care that addresses each person’s situation to provide them with the best healthcare.

If you or someone you know has been affected by alcohol abuse or drug addiction, reach out to our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439

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(855) 430-9439
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