Does Xanax make your eyes red? (3+ findings)

The question of whether Xanax causes red eyes, the relationship between Xanax use and red eyes, research findings on the correlation between Xanax and red eyes, factors contributing to Xanax-induced red eyes, and what to do if you experience red eyes syndrome while taking Xanax will all be covered in this article.

Does Xanax make your eyes red?

Yes, Xanax can make your eyes red and irritate them. Red eyes are a rare side effect of Xanax, yet individual differences exist in adverse effects.

Irritated or red eyes are not a typical Xanax side effect. The anxiety disorders that Xanax helps treat are more frequently associated with red or irritated eyes.

Red or irritated eyes are a typical symptom of anxiety, as stress can exacerbate these conditions.

Xanax is anticipated to help with your symptoms of red eyes. However red eye symptoms might occur when patients use Xanax for the first time because your body needs time to adjust to the drug.

Alprazolam is marketed under the brand name Xanax. It is a member of the benzodiazepine class of medications, which depresses the CNS (Central Nervous System) and promotes calmness, sleep, and drowsiness. Unlike antidepressants, Xanax doesn’t increase serotonin levels in the brain. It has a different mechanism of action in promoting calmness. (1)

Xanax works by binding to GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) receptors, which inhibits and reduces neural activity in the cortex of your eyes to produce a sedative effect. This reduces anxiety and stress symptoms.

The GABA system in the retina and visual cortex is inhibited by Xanax, which can have adverse effects on the eyes, such as red eyes and blurred vision. (2)

What does research suggest?

A study was conducted to find out how long-term benzodiazepine use affected the retina and eyes. 

Nineteen people took part in the research. 63.3% of the participants who received benzodiazepines reported having irritated eyes, having blurry vision, or having trouble reading, but none of them had worsened vision.

Nine individuals exhibited macular findings, while four did not. Fourteen individuals underwent ERG (Electro-Retino-Graphy), but not a single aberration was observed with them that could be linked to the medicine, its overall dosage, or its duration.

According to the study’s findings, benzodiazepines like Xanax can irritate the eyes and cause blurred vision on long-term use, but they have minimal effects on retinal function. (3)

An additional case report involved a 21-year-old lady who presented with anxiety and was treated with alprazolam. She presented to the clinic with symptoms of blurred vision and dizziness that persisted for one week. The lady’s pupils were dilated and unresponsive to accommodation or light. The symptoms improved when she stopped taking alprazolam. (4)

What factors can contribute to Xanax-induced red eyes?

There are several factors that can contribute to Xanax-induced red eyes, some of which include: (5)

Medication dose: Higher Xanax dosages may raise the possibility of Xanax-induced red eyes.

Duration of use: Xanax can cause irritation in the eyes when used for extended periods of time.

Concurrent medications: Concurrent use of medications such as amiodarone, beta-blockers, antidepressants, and antihistamines with Xanax can exacerbate Xanax-induced ocular irritation.

Underlying medical disorders: An individual may be more susceptible to eye irritation or experience worsening of Xanax-induced red eyes if they have pre-existing ocular or allergy diseases such as conjunctivitis, dry eye, and glaucoma.

Environmental factors: Allergens and toxic pollutants can aggravate the symptoms of eye irritation.

What should you do if you experience Xanax-induced red eyes?

If you experience eye irritation while taking Xanax, you should immediately consult your healthcare provider. They will assess your condition and evaluate whether the medicine or other underlying medical conditions are the cause of eye irritation.

If your red eye syndrome is related to Xanax, your healthcare provider might advise modifying your dosage in order to lessen the possibility of this adverse effect. If your symptoms persist, they might advise you to change to a different anxiolytic with fewer side effects. 

It is important to note that Xanax should not be abruptly discontinued to reduce the possibility of suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Anti-histamine eye drops or ocular decongestants may also be recommended by your healthcare provider to assist in treating the symptoms of red eye syndrome. This lessens eye irritation and eases discomfort. (6)


My studies and knowledge indicate that Xanax may make your eyes red. It varies depending on the individual. Xanax-induced red-eye syndrome can be caused by a number of factors. If you take Xanax and experience eye irritation, talk to your healthcare provider so that they can evaluate your condition and take appropriate action. 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Alprazolam: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Available from:,abnormal%20excitement%20in%20the%20brain.


Griffin CE, Kaye AM, Bueno FR, Kaye AD. Benzodiazepine pharmacology and central nervous system-mediated effects. The Ochsner journal [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2023 Oct 28];13(2):214–23. Available from:,the%20cortex%20and%20limbic%20system.


Stafanous SN, Clarke MP, Ashton H, Mitchell KW. Documenta Ophthalmologica. 1999;99(1):55–68. Available from:


Constable PA, Al-Dasooqi D, Bruce R, Prem-Senthil M. A Review of Ocular Complications Associated with Medications Used for Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Clinical Optometry [Internet]. 2022 Feb 24;14:13–25. Available from:


Red Eye: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Prevention [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. Available from:


Hosten LO, Snyder C. Over-the-Counter Ocular Decongestants in the United States – Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Utility for Management of Ocular Redness. Clinical Optometry. 2020 Jul;Volume 12:95–105. Available from: