As an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, Crohn’s disease also causes complications in the eyes of 10 percent of those who suffer from the disease, according to Everyday Health. In fact, the chief medical officer of Bausch & Lomb, Dr. Calvin Roberts, suggests being tested for Crohn’s if you experience eye inflammation repeatedly. If your eyes are not affected directly by your Crohn’s disease, it is possible to experience eye diseases due to the medications used in your treatment.
Oral steroids are often prescribed to treat Crohn’s and have been known to cause conditions such as high eye pressure, glaucoma and cataracts. Here are the four most common eye diseases that affect Crohn’s disease patients:
The uvea is inside of your eye and is rich in blood vessels that supply nutrition to your cornea, lens, iris and retina. Uveitis is when this lining becomes swollen due to inflammation and causes the retina to swell. The swelling causes blurry vision which may occur suddenly, or over a period of time. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to glaucoma and ultimately, vision loss. Due to the inflammatory nature of Crohn’s, uveitis is the most common of eye diseases associated with the illness.
Also fairly common in Crohn’s patients who develop eye diseases, episcleritis is the swelling of the lining over the white part of your eye. Episcleritis may cause painful, red, inflamed patches on the white of the eye.
Often caused by a vitamin A deficiency, dry eye occurs with lower tear production, or rapid evaporation of the tear film. Inflammation due to Crohn’s disease may also contribute to dry eye. This may cause your eyes to be irritated and itchy or burning and may lead to infection.
An abnormality of the cornea, keratopathy is another of the eye conditions that may affect you if you suffer from Crohn’s disease. Since it is normally not painful or a contributor to vision loss, keratopathy may not require immediate treatment. The affliction should be monitored for signs that it is worsening.
Early detection and treatment for eye disease is uour best defense against vision loss. Speak to your eye care health provider about scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams including optomap® ultra-widefield retinal imaging.