Medical Conditions that Contribute to Eye Problems

By Gordon Wong, OD on November 28, 2017

A man rubbing his eyes under his glassesIt's easy to take vision for granted when no problems are present, but certain medical conditions can cause those who have never experienced eye problems to develop issues. A comprehensive eye exam from the doctors at Gordon Wong Eye Design and Optometry can identify vision problems caused by medical conditions and protect eye health.

Drs. Gordon and Wildon Wong educate patients about medical conditions that contribute to eye problems at their optometry practice in La Jolla, CA. The following medical conditions are just a few examples of the conditions that can affect the eyes. If you are experiencing any of these issues, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gordon or Wildon Wong.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body processes blood sugar. When diabetes is uncontrolled, it can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels, which in turn can damage the blood vessels that nourish the eyes.

As a result, those with uncontrolled diabetes may develop an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Without careful management of diabetes and regular eye examinations, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, those with diabetes are also at risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which a person's own immune system attacks healthy cells. There are many autoimmune diseases that are associated with eye problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

Eye problems may be mild, including issues like dry, inflamed, or itchy eyes. In other cases, eye problems may be more serious and include such issues as eye pain, vision problems, or vision loss. Seeking treatment for autoimmune disease can help reduce eye problems and protect vision.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. Chronic high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common condition that can affect various parts of the body, including the eyes.

Over time, high blood pressure within the tiny blood vessels that supply the eyes can damage these vessels and lead to eye problems, including hypertensive retinopathy.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition recognized by red patches, which may include pus-filled bumps, on the face. Some people with rosacea may also experience ocular rosacea.

Ocular rosacea can cause the eyes to burn, itch, tear, or become red. Some people may experience sensitivity to light or develop swollen eyelids. Without treatment, vision problems may develop.

Liver Disease and Cirrhosis of the Liver

Liver diseases, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism, and the advanced stage of liver damage, called cirrhosis of the liver, can affect the eyes in a variety of ways.

The liver helps clean the blood and remove toxins and other harmful substances from the body. When the liver is diseased, it is unable to function properly. This can cause jaundice, a condition that turns the eyes and skin yellow, and other eye problems, such as dryness or problems with the cornea and lens.   

Viral and Bacterial Infections

Viral and bacterial infections can spread from other parts of the body and affect the eyes. Shingles, a painful rash with blisters, can develop near the eyes and result in ocular shingles.

When ocular shingles develops, it can cause blisters and swelling around the eyes as well as inflammation within the eye itself. If left untreated, ocular shingles can cause permanent eye and vision damage.

Lyme disease is an example of a bacterial infection that can cause eye problems. Without antibiotic treatment, Lyme disease can lead to sensitivity to light, spots, or inflammation of the optic nerve.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are experiencing eye problems, it's important to undergo a thorough eye exam to determine the source of your vision issues. We invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gordon Wong or Wildon Wong to learn more about your treatment options.

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