You may think that rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints, but inflammation – the root cause of arthritis – can affect the body in a number of ways. As the inflammation affects collagen in connective tissue, it can also cause changes to the sclera, or white of the eye, and the cornea, which are essentially composed of collagen.
Keratitis Sicca or Dry Eye Syndrome
This is the most common eye condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis, affecting women more than men. You’ll notice dryness and blurry vision as the corneal lens begins to dry out.
RA can cause inflammation of the white of the eye. The symptoms include redness that isn’t alleviated with eye drops, severe pain, sensitivity to light and, in some cases, reduced vision.
Keeping your arthritis under control is essential for limiting inflammation in the body. However, in some cases, corticosteroid eye drops can be prescribed.
Cataracts and rheumatoid arthritis
Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can also raise the risk of developing cataracts. However, the steroid medication you are prescribed to control RA, can also greatly increase the risk.
An ophthalmologist can remove the cataract and replace the cloudy lens with an artificial lens. For more advice on preserving your vision, call 020 3953 4999 to arrange a consultation with Mr Zaid Shalchi.