Vitamin D pill held up to sunlight

A Bad Mix: The Sun and Common Medications

It’s true: taking common medications and being out in the sun can affect your eyes. This combination can cause damage to the eyes as well as photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight). These common drugs are also referred to as sun-sensitive drugs, and include, but are not limited to:

  • Antibiotics containing tetracycline or floroquinolones (i.e; Cipro)
  • Birth control and estrogen pills
  • Certain anti-inflammatory pain relievers (i.e.; ibuprofen [Advil] and naproxen sodium [Aleve])

Tips to Protect Your Eyes

Overexposure to UV Rays can damage your eyes long-term by contributing to cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunburnt eyes (Photokeratitis), which causes temporary blindness, is a form of short-term eye damage. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) offers these tips to protect your eyes from both long-term and short-term damage from the sun:

  • Go 100%! Regardless of the cost or color of your shades, wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, make sure they block both UV-A and UV-B rays and wear them anytime you are outside or driving during the day.
  • Choose wrap-around styles. Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
  • Top it off. Wear a hat with a three inch brim to supplement your sunglass protection.
  • Be aware that certain medications you are taking may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity).
  • Be sure to ask your Healthcare Professional if you are taking a medication that puts your eyes at risk for damage.

For more information on keeping your eyes healthy, contact your eye care professional.

“Summer UV Eye Safety.” (Last accessed 8/28/2019)
“Most Americans Unaware that Common Drugs, Light Colored Eyes Can Increase Vulnerability to UV- Related Eye Disease.” (Last accessed 8/28/2019)