Physicians often turn to isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane, as a potent remedy for severe acne or psoriasis. However, its administration is typically reserved for patients who have exhausted other acne treatments due to the medication’s substantial risks. These risks include the potential for birth defects, miscarriages, premature births, and mental health complications such as depression. Furthermore, Accutane has been observed to impact various bodily systems, including the eyes.  In this article, we talk about the different ways Accutane can impact the eyes.

First, Accutane can affect color vision and night vision.  According to the Indiana University School of Optometry, changes in color vision are generally reversible but should be monitored.  Some Accutane patients have also reported reduced night vision which can be temporary or, in some rare cases, permanent.  These night vision changes present suddenly which is why users must be aware of this potential side effect in advance of taking the product.

Next, Accutane can cause corneal changes and papilledema.  Although rare, some users have experienced papilledema which refers to swelling of the optic disc due to elevated intracranial pressure.  When this happens immediate discontinuation of Accutane is advised along with a consultation with a neurologist.  Corneal changes are seen when Accutane is prescribed at higher doses and present as opacities and deposits on the cornea, potentially causing decreased vision and irritation.  Discontinuation of Accutane generally resolves these corneal issues.

Finally, Accutane can cause blepharoconjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyelids and conjunctiva) and dry eye syndrome.  When Accutane causes dry eye symptoms, high-quality artificial tears may help the user but the user should consult with their prescribing provider for the best solution.  Due to blepharoconjunctivitis and dry eye syndrome, some patients may need to refrain from wearing contact lenses while taking Accutane.

As noted here, Accutane can have numerous effects on the user’s eyes.  Each patient’s experience and side effects are unique to the patient and consultation with the prescribing provider and an eye care professional is always recommended.