Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the bodily tissues. The condition primarily affects the small-sized joints such as the feet and hands, resulting to swelling, joint deformity and bone erosion. Remember that rheumatoid arthritis can affect the whole body including various structures of the eyes.
The inflammation and dysfunction of the immune system can cause certain eye glands to incorrectly function, resulting to various issues linked to eye pressure, tear production and infection. In some circumstances, this can result to secondary complications such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Can rheumatoid arthritis cause dry eyes?
Always bear in mind that rheumatoid arthritis typically leads to dry eyes. The eyes have two sets of structures that generate tears and a set of glands that maintain moisture on the eye surface.
When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, it causes swelling of these structures which leads to diminished tear production. If there is inflammation in the oil glands on the edge of the eyelid, it causes the breakdown of the normal tear covering of the eye.
In addition, Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition that develops among individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis. The buildup of excess white blood cells develops in the lacrimal glands and salivary glands, resulting to disrupted secretion of saliva and tears.
How does rheumatoid arthritis cause eye inflammation?
This condition can lead to various conditions characterized by eye inflammation. These conditions typically develop among those who have autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. This might be due to the dysfunction of the immune system that causes the body to attack the tissues in different parts of the eye.
- Uveitis is a condition that involves swelling of the interior eye structures including the choroid, iris and ciliary body.
- Scleritis is another condition that involves the inflammation of the white region of the eye with severe pain and purple discoloration.
- Episcleritis involves inflammation of the membrane that covers the white part of the eye which results to discomfort and redness.
How does rheumatoid arthritis cause vision loss?
The effects of prolonged inflammation of the structures of the eye due to rheumatoid arthritis can result to complications such as cataracts, vision loss and glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a condition that can lead to the development of blindness due to damage to the optic nerve. This can develop as a response to the poor drainage of fluid from the eye. The inflammation of the eye tissues and glands can disrupt with the balance of tear production as well as drainage. This results to increased intraocular pressure. The high pressure level in the eye can cause glaucoma and other symptoms such as blurred vision, partial or total loss of vision and eye pain.
In some cases, cataract can also develop due to long-term inflammation of the eye. The fibers on the normally clear lens might start to clump together as reaction to the inflammation and autoimmune dysfunction which causes the lens to become dirty and the vision becomes dimmed or blurred.