4 Things Lupus Sufferers Need To Know About Recurrent Corneal Erosion
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation can damage your tissues and organs, and your eyes are no exception. One eye condition that people with lupus need to worry about is recurrent corneal erosion. Here are four things you need to know about this condition.
What is recurrent corneal erosion?
Recurrent corneal erosion is a disease that affects the corneal epithelium, the layer of tissue that covers your cornea, the lens of your eye. This tissue protects your cornea from damage and bacteria. When you have recurrent corneal erosion, this important tissue sloughs off repeatedly.
The main symptom of this condition is eye pain, which can range from mild to severe. You may experience other symptoms, as well, like blurred vision or loss of visual acuity. People with this condition may also feel like they have a foreign object stuck in their eye.
How does lupus cause it?
When you have lupus, your immune system produces autoantibodies, immune proteins that target your own healthy tissues. These autoantibodies bind to their targeted tissues, forming a buildup known as immune complex. This immune complex builds up in the blood vessels that supply your eyes, as well as in the membranes of your cornea, leading to damage. One of the ways that this damage can manifest is as recurrent corneal erosion.
How serious is it?
Recurrent corneal erosion is a serious problem. Aside from the obvious discomfort issues, it can lead to vision problems. The concern is that the repetitive sloughing of your tissues will lead to scarring. Scarring of the corneal is a big problem because it can block your vision and lead to blurred vision or even blindness in the affected eye.
Can it be treated?
Your optometrist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to keep your damaged cornea from getting infected. Your eye may also be protected with either an eye patch or a bandage contact lens. Bandage contact lenses look like regular contact lenses, but unlike regular contacts, they can be left in place for several weeks while your eye heals.
Once your eye has healed, you will need to take steps to prevent further erosions. This is done with a combination of artificial tears and prescription ointment; this therapy is used for up to a year. This treatment works by reducing the friction between your cornea and your eyelids, which helps to prevent recurrences.
In addition to these treatments, it's a good idea to see your family doctor or rheumatologist to have your lupus medications re-evaluated. Different medications may control your condition better and help to prevent eye issues.
If you have lupus and your eyes are sore, see your optometrist right away. You could have recurrent corneal erosion, a treatable condition.
To learn more, contact a company like Las Vegas Family Eye Care.