Rheumatic Diseases Can Lead to Vision Loss
Ophthalmologist Enes Kesim warns about uveitis which is a serious eye disease. Light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, redness, floaters (seeing specks or shadows), glare, vision loss, and lacrimation may be the first symptoms.
Rheumatic diseases could affect many systems and organs, especially the musculoskeletal system. Eye involvement is one of them. Rheumatic diseases could concern all tissues of the eye. It can affect the eye in a wide range from simple and superficial involvement to severe visual loss. While dry eye disease is common in Sjögren’s syndrome and rheumatoid atritis, uveitis in Behçet’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious visual loss.
Light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, redness, floaters (seeing specks or shadows), glare, vision loss, and lacrimation may be the first symptoms.
Ocular diseases may also occur in rare genetic diseases such as CAPS (Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndrome) and ADA2 (Adenosine Deaminase 2) deficiency. Vision loss, uveitis and optic nerve atrophy can be seen in both diseases. TRAPS (Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome) disease may also show eye involvement (conjunctivitis, periorbital edema, uveitis).
Uveitis is a serious and urgent disease. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is important due to its risk of permanent vision loss. All patients with rheumatic diseases should have an ophthalmic examination at least once a year, even if they do not have any complaints.
Enes Kesim M.D.
**This review was written as a support to the Affected Patients at the request of the FAROMDER Solidarity Association of Rare Autoinflammatory, Autoimmune and Rheumatic Diseases by ophthalmologist Dr.Enes Kesim.