Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory disease which not only affects the joints but it also has an impact on the eyes of a patient. The medications taken to treat this disease have severe effect on the eyes. In order to manage this complication it is readily advised to diagnose this disease and have a better treatment as early as possible.
Complication of eyes
In rheumatoid arthritis patients find complication in different ways. They find inflammation in the eyes in episclera, which is a thin membrane that covers the sclera. Whitening of eyes is a major problem faced by the R A patient. At first it may be minor problem but as it progresses it may turn the eyes into redness and painful. The whitening of eyes could create more complication as it may be a cause of loss of vision. It also puts a patient to a high risk of having Sjogrens Syndrome, which is a condition where Lacrimal glands are attacked by the patient’s immune system, that produces unwanted tears.
Eye condition associated with R A
Though R A attacks the joints but has several impacts on the eyes. Some conditions associated with it are:
- Dryness of eyes– This disease often causes the eyes to get dry. This may happen because of Sjogrens Syndrome, which leads to tears. Some signs of dry eyes may include formation of lots of mucus, inflamed eyes, regular cleaning of eye debris, etc
- Scleritis of eyes– Scleritic is a thin membrane of sclera. It may cause in the whitening of the eyes and may get inflamed. It may also turn the eyes red and tears may come regularly, making it to have pain and quite irritating when exposed to sunlight.
- Iritis and Uveitis of eyes– Iris is the black part of the eye, which controls the entering of specific amount of light where as uvea is the middle membrane of the eye, which supplies blood to it. Both gets inflamed, but it may be common cause to the patient suffering from rheumatoid Arthritis. Some symptoms may include pain in the eyes, blurred vision, cataracts, and sometimes intolerance to sunlight, but can be treated with some dark colored glasses and eye drops. Posterior Uveitis is a type of uveitis which may cause total loss of vision.
- Medication of eyes– Some drugs and steroids used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis could cause some complication to the eyes. Prednisone is a drug given to R A patient can cause glaucoma. Few patients are prescribed these drugs, when the disease becomes difficult to control. Another drug that causes some problem to the retina of the eyes is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). This retina sends signals to the brain, which allows us to see. Patient prescribed with this drug may regularly visit an eye specialist.
It is always advised to the patient of R A, to have regular schedule with an Ophthalmologist if they find any of the above conditions as because early diagnosis and treatment can avoid further damage to the eyes.