Did you know that many autoimmune diseases influence your vision?  Their influence can be so dominant that sometimes, the first signs of the disease can actually be spotted at your annual eye exam.  Some of these symptoms affect the pressure in your eyes (something that is checked with every annual eye exam), the appearance and comfort of your eye, as well as the overall clarity of your vision.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.  Over time, the stress of unstable blood sugar levels wreaks havoc on our blood vessels.  With type 1 diabetes, the delicate little blood vessels located in the back of the eye can rupture and leak blood into the eye, compromising the retina’s blood supply.  This is called Diabetic Retinopathy and can be seen and detected by Dr. Smith during your annual eye exam.

Thyroid Disease

In both high and low thyroid disease, pressure is built up in the eye and threatens the health of the optic nerve.  Damage to the optic nerve due to eye pressure is called glaucoma and can also be detected at a regular eye exam.  If the thyroid function is too high, it may cause a build up of tissue around the eyes, which increases the pressure in the eye.  If there is too little thyroid function, the ability to circulate the fluids in the eye appropriately can be compromised also causing eye pressure problems.

Multiple Sclerosis

In multiple sclerosis, sometimes one of the first signs of the disease is inflammation around the optic nerve, making this autoimmune disorder one that is often first spotted at your annual eye exam.  The inflammation around the optic nerve can cause sudden vision loss or a less noticeable gradual onset.


Most people know lupus for being a chronic disorder that affects the skin and joints, but it also largely affects your organs, which includes your eyes.  Again, inflammation in the eye is the culprit of this disease, and can cause dry eye, light sensitivity, blurred vision, soreness, and even headaches.

The importance of being consistent in getting annual eye exams cannot be stressed enough when it comes to detecting early signs of autoimmune diseases.  Don’t wait until you are experiencing symptoms to be checked.  Instead, schedule your annual appointment today and commit to going every single year.  We care about your eyes; we care about you.

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