SCENE + HEARD: Discover How Drug Abuse Affects the Eye By Staff Friday, December 14, 2018 12:58 PM It’s no secret that Americans are in the midst of a substance abuse crisis. According to the NIH, more than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015 alone. That same year, approximately two million Americans suffered from substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, 591,000 from heroin use alone. The cost can be devastating, but substance abuse is a modifiable lifestyle factor. As primary care physicians, optometrists can play a role in recognizing damage or dysfunction to either ocular structures or the components of the visual pathway these drugs cause and counseling patients in these circumstances. This article from Review of Optometry analyzes commonly used legal and illicit substances, and how each are associated with the formation, or exaggeration, of disease or damage. Read More.