Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, has been hailed as a revolutionary treatment for severe acne. While its effectiveness is well-documented, there have been concerns about its potential impact on various bodily systems, including the meibomian glands, which play a crucial role in maintaining eye health and comfort. In this blog, we’ll delve into the effects of Accutane on meibomian glands and explore ways to mitigate potential discomfort. 

Meibomian glands are tiny oil-producing structures located in the eyelids. They secrete an essential component of the tear film, which helps prevent evaporation and maintains stable tear quality. Dysfunction of these glands can lead to a condition known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), resulting in dry, irritated, and inflamed eyes. 

 Research suggests that Accutane may affect the meibomian glands and potentially contribute to MGD. The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but it’s believed that the drug could alter the composition of the oils produced by these glands, leading to changes in tear film stability and evaporative dry eye. 

 Individuals who have taken Accutane might experience symptoms such as dryness, redness, irritation, a gritty sensation, and increased sensitivity to light. These symptoms can impact daily activities and quality of life, making it essential to address them effectively. 

What to do if you are considering starting Accutane

Consultation with an Optometrist

If you’re concerned about the effects of Accutane on your meibomian glands, call our office and book an appointment at our office in Stoney Creek. Our optometrists can perform a comprehensive eye examination and assess the condition of your meibomian glands prior to starting Accutane treatment. 

Lifestyle Adjustments

Maintaining good eyelid hygiene can help alleviate discomfort. Warm compresses and lid massages can promote healthy gland function and improve oil flow. Additionally, staying hydrated and using artificial tears can help keep your eyes moisturized. 

Nutritional Support

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, have been linked to improved meomian gland health. Book an appointment with our optometrists to see which supplements would be beneficial for you prior to starting treatment.   

Prescribed Treatments

Depending on the severity of your symptoms or the appearance of your glands, our optometrists might recommend specific treatments, such as lubricating eye drops, prescription medications, or in-office procedures like radiofrequency to allow for meibomian gland expression. 

Eye Care Products

Using preservative-free artificial tears and ointments can provide relief for dry eyes. Look for products specifically designed to support meibomian gland function. 

While Accutane has been a game-changer for many struggling with severe acne, its potential impact on meibomian glands underscores the importance of holistic care. If you’re experiencing dry eyes or other discomfort, seeking guidance from an eye care professional will help you navigate potential effects and find strategies to maintain optimal eye health. Remember, everyone’s experience is unique, and a personalized approach to managing these effects is essential.

Astigmatism (“Ah-stig-mah-tism”) is a common eye condition that affects people’s vision. It is a refractive error that results in a distorted image because of an irregular shape of the cornea or lens. This causes light rays to focus on multiple points on the retina, leading to blurred or misshaped vision. If you notice things like blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, or distorted lights at night, you may have astigmatism.

The cause of astigmatism is not fully understood, but the largest factor is related to genetics. There is a good chance that if you have astigmatism, someone in your family also has it too. Significant eye rubbing can also increase your risk. Astigmatism can also develop after an injury to the eye, surgery, or due to certain medical conditions, such as keratoconus. Astigmatism can affect people of all ages, and it often occurs alongside other refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).

Astigmatism can be treated in several ways depending on the severity of the condition. The most common treatment is corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, which are specifically prescribed by your optometrist to compensate for the irregular shape of the cornea or lens. The lenses are curved in different directions to help focus light properly on the retina. The corrective lenses can also correct other refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Patients with astigmatism can also be candidates for refractive surgery, such as LASIK or PRK. These procedures use a laser to reshape the cornea, correcting the irregular curvature and improving vision. 

a phoropter used by eye doctors when trying to find the right prescription lenses for patients.

Astigmatism can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a visual acuity test, a refraction test, and a keratometry test to measure the curvature of the cornea. Consult with your optometrist to determine if astigmatism is the cause of your eye concerns and they will happily review all possible options to help with the condition. The best treatment option will depend on the severity of the condition and the patient’s individual needs and preferences.

Have you started to increase the font size on your screens? Or are you catching yourself pushing reading material further from you to see better? You may also be noticing your eyes feel tired and strained by the end of the work day.

A woman holding the temples of her head due to headache due to eye strain while looking into a digital screen.

These are common signs of something called presbyopia. Presbyopia is not an eye disease, but a natural part of the eye’s aging process. When we are young, the internal lens of the eye which sits just behind the coloured iris is able to flex and change shape. This flexibility allows the eye to switch focus from far to near, in a process called “accommodation”. As time passes the lens naturally becomes more rigid and reading ability is progressively lost. Although presbyopia starts becoming symptomatic around the age of 40, the process can start even earlier.

Presbyopia is a refractive status that requires correction to alleviate. It is not a muscle weakness or condition that eye exercises or training can prevent. An optometrist will most commonly prescribe reading glasses, progressive addition lenses, bifocals, and contact lenses, or can even recommend surgical options. Researchers are also working on eye drops which restore some of the focusing ability of the lens. Reading correction is not a “one size fits all” solution. Although your optometrist may also suggest improvements to your reading conditions, there are many customizable nuances to the above options that can maximize ease of use and adaptation time.

A woman uses glasses to read a book in a grey background to overcome the symptoms of presbyopia.

The correct strength of the prescription should always be determined through a comprehensive eye exam. Although everyone experiences presbyopia, it is important to determine if there are any other refractive statuses, binocular function issues, or ocular health problems that may compromise reading ability. In an increasingly digital world, it is tempting to normalize discomfort after periods of near work. At Spectrum Eye Care, your optometrist will take the time to ask the right questions, thoroughly examine the eyes, and prescribe the best possible solution for your lifestyle.