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Dry eyes and tarceva


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My dad has been on Tarceva for almost one month. In the last 2 weeks his eyes became very itchy and watery. A warm cloth provided some relief. A doctor on call prescribed erythromicin, an antiobiotic salve, which hasn't done much to relieve the itch. His eyes have actually bled on occasion, but we're not sure if that was actually the rims of the eyes that were bleeding or somewhere inside. Has anyone found anything that treated the dry, itchy syndrome successfully? Thank you.

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I had the dry eye effect while on Taxol/Carboplatin, as well as what could be called "dry nose" — constant watering/dripping but without adequate lubricant content, so the nostrils felt dry and fragile. I used lubricating eye drops for the eyes and Vaseline for the nostrils, which provided partial relief. With Tarceva I still need Vaseline for the nostrils, but the eyes have been okay, EXCEPT...

Some people on Tarceva develop long, curly eyelashes, out of control to the point where they can curl back in and touch the eyeball. This gives the constant feeling of something in the eye, though nothing can be found. And with the eyes watering so much, it's difficult for the person with the problem to get a good view even with a magnifying mirror. So take a look at his eyes and see if that might be causing or contributing to the irritation. Some people on Tarceva need to trim their eyelashes regularly.



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I have lots of eye issues on Tarceva, so maybe I can be of some help.

My eyes do get very dry and itchy. In addition to that - I develop some infection of the eyelash follicles that makes me look and feel like I have conjunctivitis. Sometimes it is so oozy that I can't open my eyes when I wake up in the morning.

My eye doctor prescribed an eye drop called Tobradex and also a Tobradex creme that works miracles on the problem. (as an aside, the eye doctor was very frustrated with the mess my eyes were - saying "does your oncologist know what this Tarceva is doing to you???" I laughed at him and said "yes, keeping me alive!")

The skin around my eyes tends to get very dry and fragile causing it to tear and bleed if I am not very careful when washing my face, especially my eyelids. I now use Oil of Olay cleansing cloths which are very gentle.

As NED mentioned - my eyelashes grow at an alarming rate and they grow curly not straight. It is a nice look!! Ha! Since they tend to curl back into my eye and hit the lens of my glasses, I trim them once a week.

I hope all of this helps - especially ask about the Tobradex



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  • 2 weeks later...

I have also experienced itchy eyes. You Dad's sounds more serious than mine but I just used the eyedrops that I used with my eye contacts and that helped tremendously. Drink plenty of water too. I know the Tarceva is really drying me out everywhere. My fingers are shriveled on the ends because of lack of hydration. If his eyes are bleeding, the doctor might could reduce his dosage. I've heard that helps.

Hope he gets better.

Gail R.

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There is a very rare side effect to Tarceva that can damage the eyes (the name of the condition escapes me right now)-- but he really needs to be seen by an eye specialist to make sure he doesn't have that because the damage can be permanent.

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