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Thread: Lupus and vision problems

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    Red face Lupus and vision problems

    Kim and I were talking about our eye sight. *I started to wonder if anyone else has vision problems due to the Lupus.
    I won't discuss Kim's situation; as for me the vitrious has detached from the retina in both eyes causing the beginning of problems. *When it happened to the second eye 2 months ago my eye hemoraged near the optic nerve. It's ok now. *My vision is starting to give me concerns now for focusing. *I can see, but the clarity and sharpness are slightly off. I know that the plaquinel does things to the eyes, but the first detachment happened before I started taking it.

    Anyway if there is anyone else who would like to share. I think it would be interesting and informative for the rest.
    Nonna really twitching away

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    Hey Nonna,

    You are going to the eye doctor and having the plaquinel eye tests aren't you? I am sure the answer is yes but I had to check.

    My eyes are getting so much worse. I need to get back to the eye doctor because I know that just in the last few months my glasses prescription has changed but I can't right now. What we all need to remember is that Lupus is simply the body attacking itself and it can attack anywhere. The following information was found on the lupus.org website and I thought it would be helpful.

    The Eyes

    Systemic lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, including the eyes. Lupus most often affects the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and central nervous system (CNS). The clinical course is unpredictable and is characterized by periods of remissions and flares, which may be acute or chronic.

    The effects lupus may have in and around the eyes include2:

    * Changes in the skin around the eyelids
    * Dry eyes
    * Inflammation of the white outer layer of the eyeball (scleritis)
    * Blood vessel changes in the retina -- the light-sensitive lining inside the eye
    * Damage to nerves in the muscles controlling eye movement and the nerves affecting vision

    Involvement of the skin around the eyelids

    * This is most often related to the discoid lupus erythematosus3 form of cutaneous lupus.
    * The skin lesion is well-defined, slightly raised, scaly, and misformed (atrophic).
    * There are typically no symptoms, but occasional burning and itching may occur.
    * Scarring may result in deformities along the edge of the eyelids.

    Dry eyes

    * Approximately 20 percent of people with lupus also have Sjögren’s syndrome, a condition in which the tear glands do not produce sufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.
    * Typical symptoms are irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in the eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision.
    * Advanced cases of dry eyes may result in damage to the front surface of the eye and impaired vision.
    * The dry eye that is seen in lupus cannot be distinguished from other dry eye conditions.2,4

    Scleritis

    * This painful red eye condition is caused by inflammation in the white scleral (outer) layer of the eye.
    * Scleritis occurs in approximately one percent of people with lupus and may be the first sign of the disease.

    Retinal Vascular Lesions (blood vessel changes in the retina)

    * This is the most common form of eye involvement in lupus.2
    * The occurrence in lupus can vary depending on the population studied. The lowest incidence reported is three percent, seen in outpatient clinics, and the highest is 28 percent in those hospitalized for lupus-related complications.2
    * The presence of these lesions seems to correlate with active disease.
    * Retinal blood vessel changes are due to lack of adequate blood supply to this delicate tissue, and may cause decreased vision ranging from mild to severe. For individuals with severe retinal vascular disease, the prognosis for vision is poor.
    * Retinal vein occlusions (blockages) and retinal artery occlusions have been reported, but these complications are rare and seem to be more related with CNS lupus.
    * The choroidal layer of the eye -- the nourishing tissue underneath the retina -- can also be affected by lupus, but this is very uncommon. This involvement can appear as excess fluid between the retinal layers. There is an association between lupus choroidal disease and blood vessel disease in the rest of the body, which may be related to kidney disease and blood vessel disease complications seen in lupus.

    Neuro-ophthalmic Involvement (nerve damage)

    * Cranial nerve palsies can result in double vision, poor eye movement and alignment, poor pupil reflexes, and droopy eyelids.
    * Lupus optic neuropathy occurs in one-two percent of people with lupus.2 Slow progressive vision loss also can result in more rapid loss of vision from lupus optic neuropathy.6
    * Damage to the visual nerve fibers in the brain may cause hallucination and loss of peripheral vision and/or central vision.

    In addition, some of the medications used in the treatment of lupus may have ocular side effects. For example, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) can cause retinal toxicity if taken in large doses over time. Regular annual comprehensive eye examinations are recommended by the American Optometric Association for people with lupus, especially for anyone taking Plaquenil.
    Mari

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    ~Winston Churchill~







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    I need to get to the eye doctor as well, but just haven't felt up to it lately. My vision has gotten considerably worse, and I don't take the Plaquenil. My peripherel vision has decreased, there are times that I just can't get my eyes to stay focused, and even with my glasses things are blurry. I went last year and had them checked and he said then that they hadn't really changed enough to warrant a new prescription. I went from having fantastic eyesight to bi-focals w/in a year of being sick.
    Lauren

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    I have gone from seeing the eye doctor once a year to every four-six months, my vision is constantly changing. I'd like to hear if anyone else besides Lauren and me(I) have problems focusing

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    Thanks for the info tgal. My vision has been changing lately and I need an exam. I have trouble focusing and there seems to be an area of vision that never comes into complete focus. I've also become very light sensitive and wear sunglasses even on cloudy days. Does anyone know if Medicare covers eye exams when there's a diagnosis of Lupus?

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    I see my ophthalmologist every six months because I take Plaquenil. So far, he hasn't been concerned about anything.
    I am noticing problems with focusing lately. I have to blink a couple of times before I can focus in on reading something at a distance.
    I intend to ask the doc about it next month - the eye doc is the one doc that I have who listens to me lately!

    I'm taking Restasis for the dry eyes, and that stuff is wonderful!
    Hugs,
    Marla

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    It seems everyone is having focus problems

    I am definitely going to tell my eye doctor about it

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    OK, once Marla said that she has to blink a few times to get things in focus my brain fog lifted enough for me to get it. Yes, I have this same problem with my eyes. I stay light headed and dizzy so I just attributed the vision issue to that.
    Mari

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    ~Winston Churchill~







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    I also have a lot more floaters this last year. Could be age related since I turned 60! We've been warned all our life about issues when we get "over-the-hill", but no one ever said anything about it being a cliff!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodDog View Post
    I also have a lot more floaters this last year. Could be age related since I turned 60! We've been warned all our life about issues when we get "over-the-hill", but no one ever said anything about it being a cliff!!
    the eye doctor told me the floaters come from the vitreous. He described it as jello. when you are young the vitreous is like fresh jello; the older you get the vitreous get to be like jello that has turned to rubber. Mine pulled away(detached) from the retina. This last time is hemorrhaged and now I have to look through a field of fine floaters..... the penalties of getting old as you said.
    yuck
    nonna

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    GoodDog (01-23-2011)

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