Anyone having trouble with vision after treatments

Has anyone ever had trouble focusing in with their vision after having Chemo. I had my last Carbo/Toxol treatment two weeks ago and have been having trouble with my vision since then. Also had this earlier when having Rad/Chemo same therapy on less of a does. It resolved.

Went to an eye specialist and they could not see a problem. Said my eyes were just dry. Got drops which make it worse for about an hour. Then back to the same thing old issue with focus.

By focus, I mean if I am reading or using computer, I can get my focus adjusted on that after a little while but then when I look up say to look out the window, it take a 30 seconds or so before I focus on something far away. It is like the message is very slow. My Onc wants to keep an eye on this- but not worried yet.

Driving is challenging. I do fine if I just look ahead and don't look down at the speedometer. For the most part, I am just staying home because of this or letting my husband do the driving. It is driving me nuts because I feel better and want to get out and going.

Your input is valued by me.
Julie JB

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19 replies. Join the discussion

Yes I also had vision problems. I have finished Chem and it has improved but not disappeared completely.

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Thanks Della. I thought I was loosing my mind. especially since the eye specialist said my focus was fine according to their test and my Onc took it lightly.
Julie JB

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Me, too!!! On carbo/taxol I had very blurry vision that came and went. Bright light, especially sun glare like reflecting off water, made it especially bad. Keep sunglasses handy - even just going out for a minute or two will make mine flair up again for awhile, and I've been off carbo/taxol for a long time - year and a half at least.

MJ

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Mine too. I haven't had chemo in over 8 months
and my eyesight is finally getting a little better.
I was on Gemzar, Cistoplatin
MARIA

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You can add me to the list of vision problems when starting the hard-core chemo w/ carbo. I had to use my glasses plus a magnifying glass to read anything. As soon as my hard-core chemo was over, my vision returned to normal.

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I want to thank you all for coming forward. I really did feel a little nuts. I am glad that most have had some resolve after treatments end. Today, I was thinking about the future with impaired vision. I guess I must just be patient and wait. And pray. (The advise I give others must now apply to me!)
Julie Jb

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Julie, I am on R-CHOP now and previously was taking oral chlorambucil but I blame the steroid dexamethasone for what has happened to my eyesight. In less than a year I have developed double cataracts and am now almost blind. Surgery is not an option as the docs are worried about me developing an infection (since April I have spent seven weeks in hospital with various infections). I have one more cycle to go. My biggest fear has been of going totally blind before surgery can be done. I do empathise with your anxiety, eyesight is so precious. Good luck to you and to everyone else whose eyes have been affected. Claudia

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I had vision problem 5 days after 1st treatment of cisplatin/gemzar, woke up with a very bright light in my left eye, it was a snow flake, couldn't see a thing. went to eye dr they said all was normal, than my occ sent me for brain MRI, found a 3mm leison, went to rad dr, he wanted to do srs radiation, than onto neurologist, he said stop the SRS, you had a mini stroke. At this point who knows, I told my occ that this chemo can cause strokes, she said NOT, I read that on the web site listing all the real side effects of different chemo's.

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Had 6 Cisplatin/Etoposide and my eyesight went from using glasses for distance, to perfect distance eyesight, and from not needing reading glasses, to needing them. Now on Carboplatin/Etoposide and eyes still that way. Strange!

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Yes, my long distance vision, which had always been 20--20 got blurred...cataracts diagnosed...surgery corrected problem 100% although my eyes remain sensitive to sunlight...don't go out with out my sunglasses! Encourage you to have the cataract surgery when you are able...the results are immediate.
Marcia

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I'm on Alimta and also have vision problems - usually in the first week or two following infusion then clears up somewhat. My Onc told me it was Decadron, which I believe to be only part of the issue - steroids elevate blood sugar which can interfere with or cause blurry vision. This has been going on long enough that I have had to get prescriptive lenses to read and use computer.

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4.5 years since diagnoses. I've been through carboplatin, paclitaxel, gemcitibine,cisplatin, docetaxol , alimta and am now on Tarceva. I have ongoing, sporadic vision problems. I have dry eyes, blurred vision, double vision and the occasional migraine type aura minus the headache. Onc doesn't seem to think much of it and eye doc can't find any physical defect with my eyes. I use eye drops, monitor my glucose levels and hope for the best. ! :)

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4.5 years since diagnoses. I've been through carboplatin, paclitaxel, gemcitibine,cisplatin, docetaxol , alimta and am now on Tarceva. I have ongoing, sporadic vision problems. I have dry eyes, blurred vision, double vision and the occasional migraine type aura minus the headache. Onc doesn't seem to think much of it and eye doc can't find any physical defect with my eyes. I use eye drops, monitor my glucose levels and hope for the best. ! :)

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Dear Julie,

I had 18 chemos in 6 months with gemzar + carboplatin, then 10 radiation treatments, afterwards my right eye was covered with bandage for 6 months and my left eye for few months. My eyes was problem - irritation, vision and very dry.

I have been taking Iressa since 30 months ago, that I think caused problem to my eyes, which confirmed by my Oncologist. I try to coop with this situation - use eye drop every now and then, eye gel at night and my Opthamologist always prepare myself with eyes antibiotic. I tried any effort, meditation, focus n talk to my eyes, which bring a lot of development.

Now, I feel better and better, bandage is once a while, the irritation not that severe anymore, still with Systane eye drop and eye gel at night.

Wish you good health and take care - teresa

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One of the three major groups of nerves in the human body involves the nerves of the head which connect to the ears, eyes, taste buds, etc. These nerves (as well as in the other two groups) can be affected by certain chemotherapy.

Nerves are vulnerable to many kinds of damage. They can be damaged by certain cancers. This may be caused by the cancer cells producing a particular kind of biological agent that interferes with the function of the nerves.

Sometimes, they can be damaged by drugs used in chemotherapy treatment. The chemotherapy drugs that most likely cause nerve damage are the vinca alkaloids, platinum drugs and the taxanes. These drugs have the potential of interfering with nerve function.

You may notice symptoms in different areas of your body depending on which groups of nerves are affected.

When the nerves in the head are affected, platinum drugs can affect the auditory nerve and cause loss of hearing and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Vision can occasionally be affected.

A lot depends on how quickly your cancer treatment can be stopped. Sometimes the need for treatment is more urgent then the residual nerve damage. Sometimes, the balance between benefit from the drug and the side effect of nerve damage is more finely balanced.

Once treatment has been stopped, recovery is usually slow. It may take months to get even partial improvement and often there will be some residual impairment.

There is no specific treatment that enhances nerve recovery. There are no drugs that will directly stimulate nerve regeneration or recovery.

Treatment options are subjects that you should discuss with your doctor, so you have accurate expectations of potential benefits and side effects.

Chemotherapy drugs that can cause nerve damage. NCI lists these as most likely to do so:

Cisplatinum (Platinol)
Carboplatin (Paraplatin)
Vincristine (Oncovin)
Vinblastine (Velban)
Etoposide/VP-16 (VePesid)
Cytarabine (Cytosar, Ara-C)
Hexamethylmelamine (Hexalen)
Suramin
Paclitaxel (Taxol) and Docetaxel (Taxotere)
Other medications reported to contribute to neuropathy include oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), gemcitibine (Gemzar) and thalidomide (Thalomid).

Greg

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I've been on carboplatin and paclitaxel for 9 weeks, combined with 6 weeks of radiation. The first six chemo doses were weekly doses, and I had few side effects (just some moderate hearing loss in one ear and a bit of tingling in my fingers and toes). However, after the large once-every-three-weeks dose of chemo, I had several significant side effects, including neuropathy, radiation recall in my esophagus (still on a limited liquid diet), myalgia, and problems focusing my vision. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's had vision problems, although I wouldn't wish it on anyone else. The doctor decided to cancel my final large dose of chemo because my blood counts have remained too low. I've received 3 units of red blood cells thus far. The hard part now will be waiting for the follow-up scan in 4 weeks.

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Wow- so many concerns like mine with the vision. Maybe they need to list this as a side effect. Thank you all for responding to this post. Maybe others will read this and find encouragement in this "temporary" side effect.

Thank you Greg for taking time to explaining this clearly and adding the list of meds that can cause this vision effect.

Good news is I have notices the last few days that my focusing is better with fewer periods of uncertainty. At least I have left my glasses on most of the time instead of on and off trying to focus.
Julie JB

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Thanks for the encouragement to go ahead with the cataract surgery. I have heard from other people how successful it can be, so I am really looking forward to it. Sort of...

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Just another tip...because I detest the side affects of decadron (taken day before, of and after Alimta treatment) my onc has agreed to substitute prednisone. I go for my Alimta today... this is the experimental round...will let you know how it works. So far, no pounding headaches!
As far as the cataract surgery, it is a joyful "ride in the park" compared to what we've all been through. Nice to experience a CURE for a medical problem!
Marcia

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