ARTHRITIS AND YOUR EYES
how Rheumatoid Arthritis may affect your eyes
The brown cow eating the green grass and giving us white milk are some of nature's beauty that we could not enjoy without the ability to see. Without healthy eyes we are limited in such enjoyment as watching flowers bloom and leaves changing color. RA can contribute greatly to the inevitable changes in our vision whether directly or from medication.
The eyes that are said to be 'windows of the soul', can become dry when affected by RA. The tear-producing gland becomes inflamed and stops producing tears at the normal rate. The symptoms of "dry eye" may include moderate pain, light sensitivity and blurred vision. There are other afflications of the eye that are associated with RA that can cause severe pain causing loss of sleep, as well as other less harmful cases.
There are some drugs that are used to treat RA that can end up affecting the eyes, such as prednisone, which can increase the risk for cataracts. Another drug is plaquenil that can damage the retina and lead to blindness. I used both of these drugs along with others for quite a few years during which I needed regular eye exams by a specialist. If symptoms were caused by these drugs they would immediately be discontinued. I have since been taken off those two.
Some eye problems appear at the onset of the disease before it has been diagnosed. However, proper management would be to see your rheumatologist if there is redness, blurred vision or a sensitivity to light.