Antidepressants Linked to Blindness

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Antidepressant use could be linked to blindness in older adults, a recent study suggests.

Drugs that treat depression known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, caused an increased risk of developing cataracts in patients aged 65 or older, according to a study published in the journal Ophthalmology in June.

Researchers said cataracts may be more likely to develop in patients using this specific type of depression medication because serotonin receptors are found in the lens of the eye, according to MedPage Today.

Cataracts occur when the ocular lens gets cloudy and causes vision loss and even blindness. According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are responsible for 48% of age-related blindness cases worldwide.

While the elderly are generally more prone to developing cataracts than the population as a whole, researchers said they adjusted their study results to consider blood pressure, use of other medications and gender among the 200,000 people involved.

The findings follow reports that erectile dysfunction drugs, including Pfizer’s Viagra (Stock Quote: PFE), could be linked to blindness and hearing loss.

About 10% of the U.S. population currently takes antidepressants, double the rate in 1996, totaling about 27 million Americans aged 6 and older, according to Columbia University research.

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