Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although women account for the vast majority of breast cancer cases, men are also diagnosed.
Breast cancer can be treated with a combination of medicine and surgery in most cases. Treatment is necessary, but it can have negative side effects including those that affect the eyes.
The Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment on the Eyes
Breast cancer is treatable, which is good news. The better the prognosis, the sooner the diagnosis is made. Breast cancer treatments can include the following in general:
● Hormone therapy
While breast cancer treatment can save lives, it can also have negative side effects. Ocular side effects can occur as a result of some treatments. Certain forms of chemotherapy and hormone therapy are responsible for the majority of the possible eye side effects.
The following are examples of ocular side effects that can occur as a result of breast cancer treatment:
● Eyes become dry
● Pink eye is a common ailment
● Vision is blurry
● Eyes that itch
● Eyes become red
● Eyes that are watering
A doctor may prescribe tamoxifen for several years after initial cancer treatment to prevent reoccurrence. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, long-term use of tamoxifen has been linked to eye problems such as inflammation, dry eyes, and cataracts.
The effects of tamoxifen in breast cancer patients were studied in a study published in the journal, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. A total of 1,297 women took part in the report. The researchers discovered that women who took tamoxifen for more than five years have a higher risk of cataracts.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy as While Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
You already have a lot on your mind if you are going through breast cancer care, but keeping your eyes healthy is crucial for your overall health. Take into account the following ideas:
Get a baseline eye exam. If possible, get a baseline eye exam before starting breast cancer treatment to detect any problems. You should also discuss any special steps you can take to protect your eyes with your eye doctor.
Familiarize yourself with the possible side effects. Speak to your oncologist about the possibility of eye side effects before starting treatment. Knowing what to look for will aid in the early detection of problems.
Defend yourself from infection. Chemotherapy drugs can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection. Prevent eye infections by washing your hands often and not rubbing your eyes.
Request for eye drops. If your eyes become dry or irritated, see your doctor and see if eye drops or artificial tears will help. If your eyes are irritated, wearing glasses instead of contact lenses can help.
Although undergoing breast cancer treatment can be difficult, learning about possible side effects, especially those that impair vision, can help to reduce complications. Notify your doctor right away if you find any changes in your vision or eyes.