Autoimmune Diseases that Affect the Eyes

Autoimmune Diseases That Affect the Eyes

Autoimmune disorders can be tedious and painful. If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, then you might be a little confused about the inner workings of your disease. Not only are autoimmune diseases significant to your overall health, but they also can be extremely confusing. So whether you were just diagnosed, or you’ve been living with your disease for years, you might still have questions about the disease that is running rampant through your body.

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to go to the doctor regularly in order to keep tabs on all of your body systems. Eye doctors are especially important to patients who suffer from autoimmune diseases. Many of the disorders that affect a person’s joints and muscles can also cause painful inflammation in the eyes.

So, if you are one of the millions of sufferers of an autoimmune disease, then make an appointment with your eye doctor ASAP, especially if you suffer from one of the following disorders.

Behcet’s Disease

Behcet’s disease is a gnarly autoimmune disease that can cause blindness. Fortunately, it’s very rare and there are treatments if caught early. The disease affects a variety of body systems, and often presents itself with symptoms in the mouth and eyes. Patients with this disease will notice an increase in mouth ulcers and sores, and blurry vision due to inflammation in the eyes.

The disease first became known in 1937 by a dermatologist by the name of Hulusi Behcet. In 1924, a patient came to see him complaining of constant mouth sores and eye issues. After seeing the patient for years, Dr. Behcet reported the patient’s symptoms and his findings to the Journal of Skin and Venereal Diseases in 1936. Today, the disease is well-known in the medical world.

Symptoms of Behcet’s Disease often occur in the mouth and eyes, although symptoms can appear throughout the body. Some of the eye symptoms that are associated with the disease include uveitis in the posterior and anterior of the eye and retinal vasculitis.

Autoimmune Diseases that Affect the EyesAll of these symptoms can cause eye pain, blurry vision and dry eyes. Treatment of the disease depends on the patient’s symptoms. For eye symptoms, ophthalmologists often prescribe steroid eye drops and pain relievers to keep the inflammation in the eyes to a minimum.

Unfortunately, over time, Behcet’s Disease can cause blindness in some of its sufferers. If you have any of the eye symptoms listed above, then it’s important to visit your eye doctor and ask about the disorder. People who are diagnosed with the disease early can be treated properly and will have a higher chance of keeping their vision as they grow older.

Lupus and Eye Problems

Lupus is a systematic disorder that is classified as a disease with widespread inflammation and pain. The disease often presents itself differently in each patient and is commonly difficult to diagnose for this reason. Rheumatologists can diagnose the disease in patients who have presented with similar symptoms for many months.

They also utilize a variety of serological tests to check for blood markers that indicate an autoimmune disease. Symptoms of lupus are often widespread and include headaches, fatigue, joint pain, massive inflammation and a general feeling of anxiety. Often patients who present with these symptoms report feeling run down and not having very much energy.

Lupus can also cause a variety of eye issues, which normally don’t present themselves as primary symptoms; however, they may occur as the disease progresses. Eye issues with lupus mostly include chronic dry eyes and eye pain. Sjogren’s syndrome is another autoimmune disease that many Lupus sufferers also have. Sjogren’s syndrome is a disease that causes mucus membranes in your body to dry up. This leads to dry eyes, among other symptoms.

Lupus itself can also lead to dry eyes occasionally. Another issue that affects eye health with Lupus comes from taking the popular drug Plaquenil. This drug is known to cause retinal detachment in many patients, which can lead to blindness or severe loss of vision in many patients if it isn’t treated immediately. Other eye issues that might stem from Lupus include conjunctivitis, iritis, and retinal vasculitis.

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Other Autoimmune Disorders and Eye Health

Your eyes are an important organ in your body that help you function properly. Many people when faced with the idea of losing their sight become agitated and highly anxious. The idea of going blind someday strikes fear in many people’s heart and minds. So, if you do have an autoimmune disorder, even one other than Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome or Behcet’s Disease, then you might want to ask your doctor about possible eye issues that could occur.

Most of the eye problems associated with autoimmune diseases are simple, and easy to fix, but some of the problems can be threatening to your vision. This is why it is super important to listen to your doctor and be honest about your symptoms. You wouldn’t want to realize too late that your eyes could be affected by your illness.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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25 responses to “Autoimmune Diseases That Affect the Eyes”

  1. Avatar for Arnett bowers Arnett bowers says:

    Eyes. Always. Running. And. Body. Aches

  2. Avatar for philip philip says:

    NO! eye problems associated with auto-immune disease are NOT easy to fix. Most optometrist in practice are not capable of treating chronic eye pain. They only treat acute problems. Autoimmune disease and chronic daily eye pain is something eye ‘doctors’ have limited ability to treat,

  3. Avatar for Natalie Natalie says:

    I find this interesting as my astigmatism acts up when I touch something like alcohol or a trigger food that flares up my joints and autoimmune issues. So little is known about this.

    When I take my LDN and stay on a careful diet, my eyes are perfect.

  4. Avatar for Helen Helen says:

    My sister lost her eyesight due to an autoimmune disease. She was diagnosed to late. Can any of her eyesight be restored?

  5. Avatar for Krystal spriggs Krystal spriggs says:

    My boyfriend lost his vision completely 3 years ago is there any chance or way for him to get it back or to be able to see again

  6. Avatar for cathi cathi says:

    I have multi autoimmune diseases.for 2 months now, I have been having eye sight problems. It’s like someone smeared oil all over my eyes. Some days its the left eye, then the right eye and other days both eyes. So many tests are being done with no answers. In between time, I just can’t take it anymore

  7. Avatar for Alexa Alexa says:

    Thank you for the information. I recently noticed that I have all symptoms of eye floaters. My primary diagnosis is crps (RSD) , which many believe is an peripheral and CNS autoimmune disease, at least in a subset of patients. Very rarely, are any crps comorbidities mentioned when they are associated with a long list of conditions, including floaters. I wish more medical authors would include CRPS when applicable. Please consider correcting this. It would be very helpful to the CRPS community.

  8. Avatar for Judy muirhead Judy muirhead says:

    I have had problems for the past 8 months, been to 8 eye Dr’s 2 mD, now a allergist..they think it’s auto eyes feel full of water always, red..pain..I can’t go on with this..I will be going for more blood work, I only cam pray they figure this out..

    • Avatar for Marilyn Marilyn says:

      Judy ask for active vit b12 ,folate,vitamin D levels.I had a corneal abrasion,lightning flashes,corneal ulcer .My specialists suggested vit D level he was spot on .My D was 29 should be close to 100 .I healed it the ulcer with vit A .I am vit b12 def & ,Have Lupus antibodies.

  9. Avatar for Stephanie Stephanie says:

    I have the same symptoms as you are describing!
    did they ever figure it out??

  10. Avatar for Valerie Valerie says:

    My dog passed away on the 1st..And I stressed out so bad now I have daily floaters and I am straining with my vision. Hard to explain not blurred but it’s like I’m watching everything through the television..I don’t know how to describe this..I do have joint pain..3 years ago tested for lupus and RA. Both negative but my Rheumatologist said I had inflammation either food allergin or something with the season.. I know I have leaky gut because of my IBS and reflux. Currently taking pre/ and probiotics that’s getting my tummy issues back on track.. but my vision is stressing me out…Anyone else out there with this?

  11. Avatar for Judee Judee says:

    I have CFS and autoimmune disorders run in my family. The last 6-8 months I have extremely dry eyes. Plus, I have noticed that one pupil gets twice as large as the other. For years I have reported episodes of severe double vision to my doctors. With recent changes in the medical industry it seems like my clinic won’t let me go to an actual Ophthalmologist. They only let me go to the Optometrist and I don’t think he’s given me a correct diagnosis.

    • Avatar for Marilyn Marilyn says:

      Judee ask for active vit b12,folate,vit D level.My mum had double vision all optometrist did was change her glasses.She is vitamin D & severely vit B12 deficient now. She also suffered from anxiety,IBS,arthritis,falls & memory loss.

  12. Avatar for Sara Sara says:

    I was recently told by an eye doctor that I have scars all over both of my eyes….. most likely from an auto immune disease that affects the eyes….I am left with a lot of questions. I want even told the name of it. Where do I go from here? Should I go to my normal doctor and see what she can find or just let it go? He does have me scheduled to see him again in a year to make sure scars aren’t worse.

  13. Avatar for Christina Christina says:

    I have a friend that has recently had “Sudden” Retinal Detachment. She had surgery to one eye that she has now completely lost Vision to and the other eye is slowly detaching after recent eye surgery to stop or slow it down. This occurred within a few months and they have no known cause to why. Mainly because it’s so sudden and her eyes had NO SIGNS of ANY damage until she literally woke up. If someone (Physician or Patient) has any information concerning this RARE occurrence please please let me know. Thank you

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