Rheumatoid arthritis causes complications that occur throughout all major parts of the body. We often associate it with inflamed joints that cause stiffness and pain, but there are other complications to be aware of. One of these risk factors is the difficulty some face with the various forms of dry eye syndrome.
Rheumatoid arthritis specifically affects the eyes with inflammation, similar to Sjogren's syndrome. The complications of inflammation occur on the episclera. This is a thinly constructed membrane that covers the white portion of the eyeball. The inflammation of this membrane is common with symptoms experienced under rheumatoid arthritis. Though not an extremely dangerous condition, when left untreated, this inflammation leads to pain, redness, and swelling. The specific inflammation of the eye's whiter portion is called scleritis and happens at much more dangerous levels. If this is left untreated, blindness is possible.
As for rheumatoid arthritis' ability to put people at risk for the syndrome known as Sjogren's, it begins by attacking the immune system. Since the tear glands, also called the lacrimal glands, respond as a means to deter foreign bodies and to cleanse the eye when the immune system is affected, they are affected quickly.
The results are evident and common. Those with this affliction get a very dry sensation as well as a gritty feel. Severe cases of dry eye may cause the eyes to get infected if left untreated. The best treatments for dry eye due to RA are often steroid eye drops, and medications such as Restasis and Xiidra. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be helpful because they fight inflammation, and our Eye Love Dry Eye Omega 3 is a great one to try out.
Secondary Symptoms Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis
For those with rheumatoid arthritis, yearly comprehensive eye exams are a must. If you suffer from this condition, the eyes may be easily affected. Get in and see your eye doctor today!
One Love,Dr. Travis