Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Is there a connection between antidepressants and cataracts?

Q. I read something about antidepressants causing cataracts. Is there any truth to it?

A. Results from a Canadian study reported in June 2010 did show that older people (ages 65 and up) who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants were 15% more likely to develop cataracts than those not taking these medications. The SSRI antidepressants include fluoxetine (Prozac), and several other medications, although when the researchers broke down the data by individual drugs, fluoxetine was not among those associated with cataract risk.

Venlafaxine (Effexor), which has a somewhat different mechanism from SSRIs, was also linked to cataract risk in this study.

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