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Can some medications cause problems with my contact lenses?


In general, over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription eye drops or ointments should not be placed in the eye while you are wearing your contact lenses. The only exception is for medications specifically made to be used while wearing contact lenses. Products not labeled safe to use with contact lenses may contain preservatives or chemicals that can damage the contact lens.

Certain OTC and prescription medications can cause irritation or damage contact lenses. Medications that cause dry eyes or blurred vision (for example, antihistamines, diuretics, tricyclic antidepressants, and oral contraceptive pills) can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable.

In addition, contact lenses can become damaged from medications being excreted into the tears. For example, digoxin can increase glare on the lens while ribavirin can turn the lens cloudy. Some antibiotics (for instance, rifampin, tetracycline, and nitrofurantoin) or pain medications (such as sulfasalazine or phenazopyridine) can change the color of body fluids, including tears. Contact lenses can absorb this coloring permanently, thus changing the color of the lenses.

Always check the warning labels that come with over-the-counter and prescription medications. Select the right eye drops or other solutions for your type of contact lenses. If you are unsure, check with your doctor, eye care professional, or pharmacist.

Find information about your medications.

Visit the Contact Lens pages for brands and online ordering information.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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