Issues for your eyes and vision with FM
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Some of the information below, is scattered about the site, but I felt it was time to put all the issues that can effect our eyes with FM, all in one place. The whys, wherefore's, possible treatments and outcomes.
Ok, let's start off with what tends to happen to our eyes in our condition, in general, they are:
Now, let us look at some possible causes for all of the above ... they tend to come down to just a few, starting with one of the most common co-commitant disorders to tag along with FM, which is CMP. ( on site link )
"Our eyes each have postural muscles involved in moving the eyeball and allowing us to focus, if these muscles are not functioning correctly due to spasms or trigger points, then eyesight can be distorted."
"In order for vision to be clear, both eyes must take the same picture at the same time," explains Devin Starlanyl in her book, The Fibromyalgia Advocate. "When this doesn't happen, double vision, blurry vision, and/or changing vision can result. Misalignment of the eyes can be caused by trigger points interfering with the muscles that hold the eyeballs in place. Trigger points can be responsible for contracting these muscles at different tensions. Muscle fatigue would make things worse." (Research ) "
Other issues :
"Visual problems and
symptoms are common with FM. The different FM "problems" can also
explain specific visual problems:
Dry eyes:Is a very common issue in FM/CFS that is often mistakenly taken to be Sjögren's syndrome, a common overlapping disorder with FM, which can be found to be a root cause for dye eye as: " the body's immune system attacks the moisture producing glands, like the tear glands and salivary glands, leading to symptoms of dry eyes, that can feel itchy, gritty or burning. Also a dry mouth, which can affect talking, chewing and swallowing." it is rather easy to see why the eyes would be effected in this way.
But this diagnosis however as I said, is often wrong and it is rather easy to find it out, as there are specific blood tests for this disorder. More commonly seen however, is something called Sicca Syndrome ( which also has blood work ) seen in CFS and FM. While the baseline effects with regard to the eyes are the same, the treatments are rather different, as well as the range of effects.
A study ( while admittedly small ) found decreased tear production in 90% of those with Fibromyalgia. Experience has shown that dry mouth is also common, aggravating dental and digestive problems. In those who suddenly get a bunch of dental cavities along with their CFS/FMS, dry mouth is the usual cause. This occurs because saliva is critical for preventing dental infections.Sicca Syndrome is treatable, but not curable. It is caused by autoimmune disorders that injure the glands that make tears and saliva, but also is aggravated by nutritional deficiencies and by many medications that are commonly given for FM and others in general, such as :
Antihistamines — Including Benadryl, Zyrtec and Claritin.... antihistamines are often found in over the counter sleep aids.
Antidepressants — Elavil is a major trigger of dry eyes and mouth, but most antidepressants cause this problem. Cymbalta and Savella and others
Birth Control Pills — May cause dry eyes as a side effect.
Diuretics — These drugs are mostly used to treat high blood pressure.
ACE Inhibitors — Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are mostly used to treat high blood pressure.
Acne Drugs — Including Accutane and high dose vitamin A.
All Opiates ( Research )and the most common pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
"The underlying cause of Sicca syndrome is the improper function of the immune system. With this disorder, immune cells attack the cells of the exocrine glands. Slowly, the glands begin to fail in their function of providing proper levels of hydration throughout the body."
"There is no cure for Sicca syndrome. For this reason, treatment focuses on making up for the failure of the exocrine glands and keeping the organs of the body properly hydrated. Artificial tears are administered daily in order to help with dry eyes, while prescription medications like pilocarpine or cevimeline are administered to help increase the flow of saliva to a normal range. Various other medications can help protect internal organs from complications arising from the syndrome" See Link for more on this disorder, which has some very broad and far reaching effects.
You are at higher risk for dry eye if you are:
Are older than 50.
Are a post menopausal woman.
Have a medical condition that reduces tear production.
Dry eyes are associated with some medical conditions such as:
Vitamin A deficiencies
and of course FM/CFS
Other deficiencies that cause dry eye also include:
All B complex Vitamins
( List of all Vitamins and their related issues when they are lacking)
Treatment of Eye Symptoms
"There are various steps you can take to help reduce the pain and discomfort of the eye symptoms you may be experiencing: Some basics, thanks to Kathy Longly, with additions by me.
Sensitivity to the environment:
Supplements that may help: