How Does Arthritis Affect the Eyes?

Written by chris sherwood
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How Does Arthritis Affect the Eyes?


Although arthritis is primarily known as a disease of the joints and bones, it is also common for arthritis to affect other parts of the body, especially rheumatoid arthritis. One area that this type of arthritis can commonly affect is the eyes.

Sjogren's Syndrome

One of the ways in which arthritis can affect the eyes is through Sjogren's syndrome. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes excess production of antibodies in the blood. This can lead to connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. One of the main areas where this can occur in is the eyes, causing them to become dry and inflamed. Treatment for Sjorgren's syndrome varies, but usually includes the use of corticosteroids.


Uveitis is another common eye problem that can occur due to arthritis, especially juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Uveitis is the inflammation of the inside of the eye including the ciliary body, iris and choroid of the eye. This can cause red eye, blurred vision, pain and light sensitivity. Medicated eye drops are common for treatment of mild uveitis; however, in severe cases laser eye surgery may be needed to correct the damage.


Scleritis is an inflammatory disease that attacks the white coating of the eye, also known as the sclera. The inflammation associated with this disease can become quite painful, and usually requires the use of anti-inflammatory eye drops to control the inflammation and relieve the pain.


Arthritis can often cause so much inflammation that it is hard for the eye to drain properly. This can lead to glaucoma, which can cause eye pain, blurriness, and will eventually lead to complete vision loss. Glaucoma can be prevented by relieving the inflammation around the drainage system with corticosteroid eye drops.

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