Arthritis: How the condition can appear in your eyes – what to spot


Around one percent of the UK population has rheumatoid arthritis, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society states. The symptoms of the disease are not limited to the affected joints with the eyes being a tell-tale early warning. What to spot?

A common eye-related symptom of arthritis is dryness.

Dry eyes are prone to infection, and if untreated, severe dry eyes can cause damage to the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface of the eye that helps your eye focus.

“The eye is like a microcosm of the entire body within a small little ball,” explained Dr Sunir J. Garg, retina physician and surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

He told Arthritis Foundation: “Any inflammatory condition that affects collagen – the main component of connective tissue – such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), can affect the sclera (the white of the eye) and the cornea (the lens cap), which are basically entirely collagen.”

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According to Bausch and Lomb, the six symptoms found in the eyes can include:

Eye redness

Eye pain

Eye dryness

Blurred vision

Dry/gritty feeling in eyes

Sensitivity to light.

See a GP if you have these symptoms so they can try to determine the cause.

“A GP will do a physical examination, checking your joints for any swelling and to assess how easily they move,” explains the NHS.

The GP will also ask you about your symptoms.

As the NHS explains, if the GP thinks you have rheumatoid arthritis, they’ll refer you to a specialist (rheumatologist).

There’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but early treatment and support can reduce the risk of joint damage and limit the impact of the condition.

Treatments include medicine, lifestyle changes, supportive treatments and surgery.

According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), a balanced, nutritious diet consisting of the recommended amounts of all the food groups helps promote wellness and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.


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