Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eye Health and Systemic Diseases

The importance of an eye examination with an ophthalmologist is crucial especially if you have a systemic disease, which are diseases that affect one or more of the major systems of the body.

The most common systemic diseases are: diabetes mellitis, thyroid disorders, hypertension, sjogrens syndrome, myasthenia gravis and rheumatoid arthritis.

-          Diabetes affects a variety of organs and is the most common disease in the United States among children and adults. Diabetes can develop a state of poor retinal circulation and accumulate fluid in the macula that can significantly decrease vision.
-          The thyroid gland helps to regulate the body's metabolism. Certain thyroid disorders could cause various degrees of swelling of the eyelids and orbital tissues which can potentially cause severe dry eyes problems and blurry vision.
-          High blood pressure impairs blood circulation which may produce problems in the vessels supplying retina, choroid and optic nerve. Hypertension can lead to small hemorrhages in the retina even without visual changes.
-          Sjogrens syndrome causes dry eyes that may result in the cornea condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Symptoms include a burning sensation, grittiness or foreign body sensation.
-          The ocular symptoms of myasthenia gravis include ptosis (droopy eyelids) and diplopia (double vision). Patients may also complain of limited eye movement.
-          Rhematoid arthritis may cause dry eyes, scleritis (inflammation of the sclera), episcleritis (inflammation of the superficial tissue overlying the sclera) and corneal ulcers.

If you have any of the systemic diseases and have not seen an ophthalmologist recently Doctor & Associates would be happy to evaluate the health of your eyes and check the effect of systemic disease on your vision-203-227-4113.