Research now shows that among other side effects from taking Paxil — including increased birth defects, addiction, mood swings, suicidal behavior and suicide — Paxil may also cause cataracts.

A study conducted by scientists in British Columbia and Quebec looked for a link between cataracts and SSRI medications like Paxil. The researchers took information from about 19,000 people over the age of 65 and had cataracts and compared their information of 190,000 people that were 65 and older who did not have cataracts. In the end, the researchers learned that the ones that were taking SSRIs like Paxil had a 15 percent higher chance of getting cataracts.

The study also showed that there was a difference in seniors developing cataracts depending on what SSRI medication was taken by the patient. Here are the comparisons between patients taking different antidepressants and the chances of them getting cataracts:

  • Paxil patients’ chances became 23 percent higher;
  • Effexor patients’ chances became 33 percent higher; and
  • Luvox was highest at 39 percent higher.


As far as the research information goes, there is no way to completely determine why patients taking antidepressants have a higher chance of getting cataracts vs. those that were not, but one explanation may be because SSRIs increase serotonin levels around any of the cells that need it. This also includes cells that are in the eye’s lens, as was stated in an article in the Reporter. This excess serotonin around the eyes may be the reason that the cataracts develop. More research is needed to verify these claims, but one thing is certain: Antidepressants are getting one heck of a bad name.

Between the heavy side effects of taking drugs like Paxil and Effexor, research also has shown that the drugs may not even prove to be any better than a placebo at treating depression, anyway. If the research keeps going this way, antidepressants may just become a thing of the past.