Eyesight Changes: Has anyone with pmr or gca... - PMRGCAuk


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Eyesight Changes

Ifton profile image

Has anyone with pmr or gca noticed any change to their vision while on prednisone?

For 50 years I have worn glasses for shortsightedness, but since being on a high dosage of prednisone (60 down to 20) for three months I no longer need my glasses for distance and now need glasses to read.

My inflammation markers are very low suggesting its a side effect of the prednisone.

Any one experienced this?

19 Replies


Yes, l did when l was on 30/20/15mg for Flares x2 ~ l’m Short Sighted too but found it was the middle distance & at arms length that l couldn’t focus, general distance was OK but also found l was better without my reading glasses to read, which was mainly my iPhone & iPad. My Dispensing Optician made me up a pair of Middle Distance Glasses, so for a while l found those best around the house but needed my Distance Specs when l went out.

I’m down at 7.5mg now & my vision has returned to my long standing -7.5 👓

It’s worth getting your eyes checked regularly when you’re on Prednisolone but not always necessary to change your Prescription. I had my eyes checked every Six Months for about two years when l had the issues but now back to Yearly.

Best Wishes


Ifton profile image
Ifton in reply to

Hi MrsN thank you for sharing your experience. Last week I went to an Optometrist and they believe that the prednisone effects the fluid in the lens and consequently effects the eyesight. They also said that as things would be constantly changing that it was not worth getting new glasses. But this is all new to me. I was concerned it may have been caused by the GCA.

I would agree with MrsNails it has been really frustrating. My highest dose was 20mg and at that time I had 3 different pairs of cheap OTC reading glasses on the go and used which ever was best at the time. Middle distance was worst for me, esp. watching tv. Then steroid induced cateracts which lead to surgery and detatched vitreous in one eye.

Pred is now down to 10mg and things have settled.

Eyes need to be tested regularly as some of these changes are quite quick and I'm sure if you have a perscription it could work out expensive

Ifton profile image
Ifton in reply to scats

Hi Scats, the eyesight change is frustrating but I am told that as the dosage tapers things will eventually return to normal. Though having reviewed others experience, that could take quite a few months, maybe years.

Oh yes indeed. Trouble is, it keeps on changing with dose and in an unpredictable way so I couldn’t buy new glasses. I also found that my eyes’ ability to switch focus from one depth of field to another was very slow. I would read some print then look up the garden to find it was completely blurry for a good few minutes. I did get my pressures checked every 3 months while on higher doses and every 6 months had a full check with photos of the back of the retina. I never got any blank spots of vision or shadows, for which I would certainly have hot footed it to either A&E or ophthalmologist if it was the same day.

I’m now on 3mg and in six months I now have got early cataracts and I hadn’t realised, though with hindsight I have been turning on lights more readily and dislike bright lights plus night driving more than I did.

in reply to SnazzyD

Hi SnazzyD

I forgot about the inability to switch focus like you say if reading then looking out onto the garden etc.


DorsetLady profile image
DorsetLadyPMRGCAuk volunteer

Just to re-iterate what Mrs Nails says, get regular eye tests - high doses of Pred for GCA can induce cataracts and also increase eye pressures - maybe leading to glaucoma. Your local optometrist is your best friend when you have GCA - even if you have to pay for sight test!

Ifton profile image
Ifton in reply to DorsetLady

Hi DorsetLady

Am I right in assuming my eye issues are related to taking prednisone rather than the underlying PMR/GCA?

DorsetLady profile image
DorsetLadyPMRGCAuk volunteer in reply to Ifton

Most of them are side effects of the Pred, but if you do get new symptoms then always best to get them checked.

I have had cataract surgery and still feel like I can't see well. Have always worn glasses. Currently at 8 and think my eyes will be better when I'm off the pred. I have day light sensitivity and wear sunglasses over glasses that turn dark in sunlight. Especially when driving. We make many life adjustments don't we?

My optometrist says I have early signs of cataracts but that's normal for my age (71) as well. But I have avoided driving at night as car and street lights are like a five pointed star where the bottom ray extends down to the ground. Hopefully sometime in the future as I taper off prednisone things will get back to normal.

Happy New Year

PMRpro profile image

I have simply moved my specs up and down my nose for years - saves spending a fortune on new ones!!!!!!!

Just came back from ophthalmologist and after telling him I was having issues he told me he hesitates to prescribe new glasses as there is so much swelling from the prednisone. To hang in there til the taper is further along, cold compresses will help and that I will have good days and bad days. At first I was angry, but then glad, glasses are so very expensive and if I have to wait a bit to get a more exact prescription I could be saving $$$$. I can still see I just have a hard time reading sometimes...

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to Mks9558

Move your current specs up or down your nose! Has worked for me for years!!!!

Mks9558 profile image
Mks9558 in reply to PMRpro

Right there with you- it’s driving where that gets a bit trickier 😳😎

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to Mks9558

It works a bit there too! But I find my sunglasses are the most comfortable to drive in. Obviously not much help at night...

Hi Mks9558

Thanks for the tip on cold compresses. At the moment the changing eyesight, fuzzy eyes that just dont focus clearly are making driving difficult so I try to limit doing that. Its frustrating but I am starting to understand that this just part of the journey to hopefully a full recovery. It is certainly not worth getting new glasses at this point of my journey. Luckily the reading glasses are OTC and very inexpensive so I can write my diary, read books and get on the ipad. Take care.

I find the cheap magnifying specs I bought a couple of years ago are now my best friends. Also short sighted but didn't need glasses for driving so I didn't wear them. Now small print is difficult without the magnifying.

Ifton profile image
Ifton in reply to dancersize

Yes that is absolutely what I have experienced. I now have several pairs of reading glasses dotted round the house. Fortunately they are so cheap. Been on preds for a year and currently on 15mg. Hoping the eyesight will return to "normal" eventually. Have fun.

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