Eyes dry, red, swollen, and feeling of sand in eyes are the common symptoms of diseases such as conjunctivitis or uveitis. However, these signs and symptoms could also indicate another type of disease that affects the joints and the blood vessels, rheumatic diseases, like lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, at any stage of life.
Usually the rheumatic diseases are discovered through specific examinations, but the ophthalmologist can suspect the person has this type of illness through an examination of the background of the eye, an examination that shows exactly the state of the optic nerve, veins and arteries that irrigate the eyes, indicating the health of these structures. And if these small blood vessels are compromised, it is possible that others also are, and so the ophthalmologist may indicate that the person look for a rheumatologist.
7 rheumatic Diseases that can affect the eyes
Some rheumatic diseases that can have ocular manifestations are:
1 – rheumatoid Arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile
The arthritis which is the inflammation of the joints that can have various causes that are not always fully known, can also affect the eyes causing changes such as conjunctivitis, esclerite and uveitis. In addition to the disease itself can have implications eye, the medicines such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can have side effects that manifest in the eye, and therefore it is necessary that the person who has arthritis do the examination of the background of the eye every six months.
2 – systemic Lupus erythematosus
People with lupus have a greater risk of having the syndrome of dry eye, which manifests itself through symptoms such as burning and pain in the eyes, coreira, feeling of sand in eyes and dryness of the eye. In addition to the disease itself can affect the eyes, the drugs corticosteroids used in the treatment of Lupus, may also have side effects in the eye may cause the syndrome of the dry eye, cataract, andglaucoma.
3 – Sjogren’s Syndrome
It is a disease where the body itself attacks the cells that produce saliva and tears, leaving the mouth and eyes very dry, and it is common to the syndrome of dry eye, which increases the risk of conjunctivitis chronic. The person has the eyes always dry, red, has light sensitivity and feeling of sand in the eyes can be a frequent occurrence.
4 – Ankylosing spondylitis
This is a disease where there is inflammation in the tissues, including in the eye causing uveitis, usually in only 1 eye. The eye may become red and swollen and if the disease last for months in the other eye may also be affected, and there is a higher risk of complications in the cornea and cataract.
5 – behcet’s Syndrome
It is a very rare disease in Brazil, characterized by inflammation in the blood vessels, which is usually diagnosed in adolescence, but which can seriously affect the eyes causing uveitis with pus in both eyes and inflammation of the optic nerve. The treatment may be given with immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, cyclosporine A, and cyclophosphamide to control the symptoms.
6 – Polimialgia reumatic
It is a disease characterized by pain in the shoulders, lower back, and difficulty moving because of stiffness in the hip and in the articulation of the shoulders, being common the complaint of pain in the entire body. When there is involvement of the arteries to the eye may occur blurred vision, double vision and even blindness, which may affect only one or the two eyes.
7 – Reiter’s Syndrome
It is a type of arthritis that causes pain and inflammation in the joints but can also cause inflammation in the white part of the eyes and on the eyelids leading to the emergence of conjunctivitis or uveitis, for example.
Despite being more common for a person to discover the rheumatic disease first, it is possible that the impairment of the eye could indicate the presence of rheumatic diseases. But to get to this diagnosis it is necessary to perform a series of examinations, x-rays of the joints, mri and a genetic test to identify the rheumatoid factor, for example.
How to treat the ocular complications caused by rheumatism
The treatment for the eye diseases that are directly related to rheumatic diseases should be guided by the ophthalmologist and the rheumatologist and may include the use of medicines, eyedrops and ointments to apply on the eyes.
When these diseases occur due to side effect of medicines, the doctor may indicate that this is exchanged for another to improve the quality of vision of the person, but sometimes, simply treating the illness reumatológica for there to be improvement of eye symptoms.