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Published On: Fri, Jan 26th, 2018

Scientists Discovered a Connection Between Arthritis and Eye Diseases

1 in every 4 adults is diagnosed with arthritis, which means this condition has become an epidemic in its own right. It currently is one of the priorities for researchers, who are desperately trying to find a cure. Unfortunately, no such thing exists yet. But one recent study definitely took us closer to understanding the nature of arthritis and its complex effects on the body. Published in the Clinical Ophthalmology journal, this research found that rheumatoid arthritis can have ocular manifestations. Simply put, this condition can cause a variety of eye diseases.

Public domain image/Jojo at the wikipedia project

Why Is This Study Significant?

While discovering the connection between arthritis and eye diseases doesn’t offer any promising treatment routes, it does help improve the lives of people suffering from the condition. Most importantly, it shows what exactly they should watch out for. Also, the new discovery can explain the origins of eye conditions that seem to appear for no obvious reason.

Which Eye Diseases Can Be Caused by Arthritis

When it comes to triggering eye conditions, arthritis seems to be extremely ‘prolific’. So far researchers managed to identify it as a direct cause of scleritis (sclera inflammation), uveitis (inflammation of uvea, the area between the sclera and retina), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyelid lining and eye whites).

The situation with blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) is a bit different. All info on blepharitis that we currently know doesn’t indicate a direct connection to rheumatoid arthritis. However, this particular type of inflammation is badly understood. Many other types of eye inflammations and dry eye may be connected to this autoimmune disorder, so it could well be that some forms of blepharitis are also related to arthritis.

photo supplied/ Top Eyelash Serums

Dry eye, in particular, is the predominant eye disorder caused by different types of arthritis. This study did a great job to promote understanding of this disorder, which some researchers believe to largely as a result of excessive screen-time. However, we now know that the dry eye syndrome can develop because of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. This can help scientists develop a treatment that will cure this problem, as there are only topical short-term remedies available today.

Other eye diseases that may be caused by arthritis are cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal vascular occlusion. All of these are extremely dangerous as they can lead to permanent loss of vision. The most dangerous thing about them is that in many cases, the damage is irreparable by the time the problem gets noticed.

If these diseases have progressed too far, the patients have no other choice but to try delay the unavoidable vision loss. This is the case for the majority of eye diseases, even some ‘mild’ conditions, like uveitis. Any type of eye inflammation can go unnoticed because the symptoms often don’t manifest until the condition becomes severe. At this point, there is usually no undoing the damage.

This latest discovery on the connection of arthritis and eye diseases, can help reduce the number of such cases. It has proven that people suffering from this disorder have to be screened for eye conditions very carefully. This is especially important for children. For example, the symptoms of uveitis caused by psoriatic arthritis almost never manifest in growing kids. Therefore, the first noticeable symptom to appear might be vision impairment, which is already permanent by that point.

How to Save Your Eye Health If You Have Arthritis

As arthritis is incurable for now, the most effective thing a person affected by it can do is to monitor their eye health carefully. Visiting an ophthalmologist at least twice a year for a thorough checkup is a must. You also should address any issues, no matter how mild, immediately. In the majority of cases, arthritis-induced eye diseases can be treated effectively at their early stages. So, be sure to watch yourself and seek help fast.

Author: Jane Koval

 

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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