Crohn’s Disease Eyes: How Crohn’s Can Impact The Eyes

Uveitis of the eye. From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anterior-uveitis.jpg

Symptoms of uveitis may include:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headaches
  • Floating spots in the field of vision (floaters)
  • Diminished vision
  • Whitish patch towards the lower portion of the iris

Various variations exist, and one or both eyes may be affected.

If left untreated, uveitis could progress to cause high pressure in the eye (glaucoma), damage to the optic nerve, clouding of the lens of the eye (cataract), or problems with the retina. All forms of uveitis are potentially serious, and warrant immediate medical attention, as vision loss could occur.

Keratopathy

Keratopathy is an abnormality of the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. It does not cause any pain or lead to loss of vision, so usually, it does not require treatment.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Eye irritation
  • Eye watering
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Reduced vision

Keratopathy. From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Band_keratopathy.jpg

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, is caused by decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Feeling as though sand is in your eyes
  • Redness

Other Eye Conditions

Inflammation from Crohn’s may develop in other areas of the eye such as the retina and the optic nerve Crohn’s. Other eye conditions may be related to side effects of treatment, such as corticosteroids. Their long-term use has been associated with a higher risk of developing cataracts.

Be Proactive

Extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s that affect the eye(s) are fairly common, and in some instances may arise well before Crohn’s has been diagnosed. Accordingly, it’s important to pay attention to nagging symptoms such as unusually red eyes, floaters, blurry vision, pain, or unusually dry or teary eyes. Rather than ignore these symptoms, seek medical attention.

At best, it could help you and your doctors identify your underlying disease. Once diagnosed, treatments to control your Crohn’s symptoms may also help control the inflammation that is affecting your eyes. Your doctor(s) may also prescribe topical treatments for the eyes.