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The eyes and lupus

Making subtle changes to your lifestyle can help improve your eye health and minimise your risk of developing common eye conditions.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, blood vessels, joints, heart, kidneys, and nervous system. Lupus occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, causing chronic inflammation as well as the occasional flare-up of acute symptoms.

Lupus can also affect the eyes. It cause changes to the eyes, eyelids, tear glands, and tear ducts as well as the nerves and blood vessels servicing the eyes. This can lead to eye pain, dry eyes, change in visions, and vision loss.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that targets and attacks different organs of the body, including skin, joints, kidneys, blood vessels, and nervous system. When it affects the eyes, it can damage eyelids, tear glands, cornea, conjunctiva, retina, and optic nerve.

Among the eye conditions linked to lupus are:

  • Dry eye disease (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)

  • Discoid lupus erythematosus

  • Retinal vasculitis

  • Scleritis

  • Optic neuritis

  • Optic neuropathy

The treatment of lupus-related eye conditions may be as simple as artificial tears. In other cases, oral steroids, topical steroids, or intravitreal steroid injections may be needed.

Immunosuppressant drugs may also be prescribed to treat the underlying autoimmune response.

In severe situations, lupus can impact your vision. For example, untreated severe dry eye syndrome can damage the cornea, the clear layer of your eye that allows light to enter. This can lead to vision loss.

Additionally, lupus retinopathy and lupus-related damage to the optic nerve can also lead to vision loss. These eye problems are estimated to impact 10% and 1% of people with lupus, respectively.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.


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