Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Eyes: Part 1

Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Eyes: Part 1

I wrote a blog post last week, “May is Healthy Vision Month.” I posted a list of autoimmune disorders that affect the eye, so I want to dig a little deeper and see how these disorders affect the eyes differently.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome destroys glands responsible for lubricating eyes and other parts of the body.

Did you know that it’s estimated that 1 in 10 dry eye patients also have Sjogren’s Syndrome; and it can take up to four years or longer from onset of the disease to get an accurate diagnosis.

Other eye symptoms that can occur with Sjogren’s Syndrome include blurred vision, a gritty or burning sensation and light sensitivity.

Everyday I experience the feeling of having something in my eye. I usually have these small white specks that I have to remove. Every once in a while I will get one of these white things stuck to my eye. It is usually on the bottom of my eye under the iris. It take s a while for it to come off, but while I’m waiting I have to use a lot of eye drops because it is so irritating. says that because chronic dry eye is one of the major symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, you must make sure your eyes are lubricated to avoid damage that can lead to scarring and infection of the eye.

Read more about Sjogren’s.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

“About 30 to 40 percent of people with ankylosing spondylitis get uveitis at some time,” says Dr. Proctor.

Researchers have found certain genes common in both ankylosing spondylitis and uveitis. Even though other diseases can also cause uveitis and iritis, about 50 percent of all Caucasians with this type of eye inflammation have the HLA-B27 gene.

Symptoms for uveitis or iritis:

  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing spots in your vision

Common treatments include:

  • Steroid eye drops to fight inflammation
  • Eye drops, called cycloplegic drops, to keep the pupil open and decrease pain
  • Steroids taken by mouth, for more severe cases
  • Dark glasses to protect your eyes

Read more about AS

Grave’s Disease

The eyes may be affected through a separate, yet related disease called Graves’ Ophthalmopathy. In Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, the immune system targets the area surrounding eyes and may cause:

  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
  • Bulging eyes (exophthalmos)
  • Gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Pressure or pain in the eyes
  • Puffy or retracted eyelids
  • Reddened or inflamed eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Vision loss

Click here to read more about Grave’s Disease.

Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Eyes #behcet #lupus #MS #psoriasis #RA #Sjogrens

Two of the disorders in today’s post are not on this list: Grave’s and Ankylosing Spondylitis.

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