What is Roaccutane?
Roaccutane, also known as Isotretinoin, is a pill prescribed to treat acne. It is one of the only oral treatments for acne that has been proven clinically.
What is it used for?
Roaccutane is used to treat severe cases of acne and other skin conditions that can scar, such as rosacea or painful pigmentation. This form of treatment has been proven successful, with adolescents and young adults reporting significant changes within 4 to 6 months.
Due to its numerous side effects, doctors will only prescribe Isotretinoin as a last resort. These side effects include a range of mild to severe problems, some of which affect vision.
Who can't take Roaccutane
You should not take Roaccutane if:
- You have previously had allergic reactions to the capsules or if you know that you are allergic to soya (contained in the capsules).
- You have a fructose intolerance as the capsules also contain sorbitol.
It is also highly important that you don't get pregnant while on Roaccutane as it can cause congenital disabilities and lead to miscarriage. Women are advised to take monthly pregnancy tests while on the treatment.
Those who have diabetes should speak with their doctor before taking Roaccutane as the medication can cause blood sugar levels to rise. In addition to this, your red and white blood cells may decrease, leading you to feel faint while on the medication.
How Roaccutane works and its impact on vision?
Roaccutane begins to work correctly after a week to ten days, with 4 out of 5 people reporting clearer skin after four months. It belongs to a group of medicines called retinoids which work to reduce the amount of sebum produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin. By lowering this oily substance, the pores in the skin begin to open, which helps to clear up the acne.
Unfortunately, Roaccutane doesn't just reduce the oiliness of your skin; it also causes your tear ducts and meibomian glands to dry out. The meibomian glands stop your eyes from drying out by secreting an oily layer. When these glands dry out, the result is dry eyes which can lead to blurred vision, conjunctivitis and reduced night vision. In more severe cases, it can lead to cataracts.
Can Accutane cause eye problems?
Accutane, as it's formerly known, can have many common side effects, including adverse effects on the eyes. While treatment with Isotretinoin is popular, these side effects should be clearly understood before starting Isotretinoin.
Roaccutane side effects
Common side effects of Roaccutane include:
- Aches and pains
- A dry nose which can lead to nosebleeds
- Dry throat
- Skin sensitivity to sunlight
Short term effects
Roaccutane can affect your eyes in multiple ways. The short-term side effects of Isotretinoin on your eyes include:
Due to the nature of Roaccutane reducing oil produced by the body, most who use the drug will experience dry eyes. It's recommended to avoid wearing contact lenses and to use eye drops while on this treatment.
In rare instances, Roaccutane can exert pressure on the brain, which can result in blurry vision. You should contact the emergency services immediately should you find your vision blurry.
Your eyes may produce more tears while on Roaccutane. This is due to the effect it has on the oil production in your meibomian glands. You may find your contact lenses are harder to put in and keep in place, and they should, therefore, be avoided in this instance.
Roaccutane can cause redness around the eyes as well as swollen eyes, sore eyelids and bloodshot eyes, but usually, this clears up within a couple of weeks.
Swollen eyelid treatment
To speed up the process, you can treat swollen eyelids using wipes such as The Eye Doctor Lid Wipes and avoid smoky and polluted environments. An eye compress such as our Thera-Pearl Eye Mask can also be used to relieve puffy and swollen eyelids.
Long term effects
The long-term effects of Roaccutane can cause more severe conditions on your eyes, such as the following:
Dry eye syndrome
Dry eye syndrome amongst Roaccutane patients is hugely uncommon, but in rare cases, one may experience extreme dryness over a long period.
In a few cases, patients have developed cataracts after taking Roaccutane. This might be linked to the inability to adapt and adjust to different lightings. If left untreated, cataracts can cause a gradual loss of vision which can eventually lead to blindness.
While Roaccutane can cause a range of eye problems and affect your vision, most of the issues go away once treatment has stopped. You may also experience aching eyes as a result of some of the other effects that Roaccutane can have on your eyes. If you find that you have painful, aching eyes, you should speak to your doctor immediately to be sure this is not the result of a more severe condition.
Dry Skin around Eyes
In addition to experiencing dry eyes, one may also experience dry eyelids and dry skin around the eyes as a result of Roaccutane.
How long does it take for Accutane side effects to go away?
The majority of side effects from taking Roaccutane go away within a few days or weeks after you stop treatment. In some cases, side effects can be more severe. If the side effects last longer than a few weeks or if you're experiencing some of the more severe side effects, you should call your doctor immediately.
Do dry eyes go away after Accutane?
While most of the side effects go away after treatment for Accutane has been discontinued, dry eye syndrome can persist for two years.
Best eye drops for Accutane
At Feel Good Contacts we have a wide range of eye care products to help relieve dry eyes caused by Roaccutane. Our comfi Drops are a great choice of eye drops guaranteed to rehydrate your eyes and keep them lubricated for the whole day.
Using an eye mask in conjunction with these eye drops will give you optimal results. Our Thera-Pearl Eye Mask offers a therapeutic spa-like treatment for dry eyes. You can use this eye compress hot or cold to relieve the dry, gritty sensation.
Avoiding Dry Eyes
You may not be able to avoid dry eyes altogether while on Roaccutane, however, you can prevent them from getting worse by using dry eye treatments, swapping contact lenses for glasses, following an Omega-3 rich diet and limiting your screen time.
Morning and night Vision
Roaccutane can reduce your ability to see at night and can even lead to night blindness. This is said to be due to the retinoids which can interfere with the formation of vitamin A in the retina. This nutrient is essential to your ability to see, and a reduced concentration can affect the rods and cones in your eyes, causing them problems with adapting to dark settings.
Fortunately, these symptoms usually appear in the first month of taking Roaccutane and can be treated with a course of Vitamin A. If you notice changes in your vision at night, you should contact your doctor right away.
Itchy eyes at night
You may notice your eyes become itchy as a result of dry eyes caused by Roaccutane and this may be more bothersome at night when you are lying still. The best thing to do is to avoid touching your eyes, stop wearing contact lenses and treat your eyes during the day with eye drops.
Blurry vision in the morning
Morning vision generally shouldn't be affected by Roaccutane; however, you might notice blurriness.
A guide to dry eye
A guide to blurry vision
A guide to conjunctivitis