Older people suffering with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may usually focus their care on their joints because of the pain they experience in them. However, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can also cause other problems in your body, especially when it comes to your eyes. Maintaining optimum health despite having RA means you staying on top of regular eye exams. Find out how you could suffer with retinal detachment associated with RA that could lead to complete loss of vision.
What Is Retinal Detachment?
The retina, a thin layer of tissue that lies against the inner part of your eye, could be compared to film used in a camera. When you look at an image, the light from it is received by the retina, triggering nerve impulses that are sent to the brain for telling you what the image is and for understanding it. A layer of vitreous gel lies between the retina and the other tissue in the eye. When too much vitreous gel forms, it causes the retina to detach, usually ending up in a tear that can cause the loss of peripheral vision. Tears are most common in retinal injury, but complete separation is also possible. Bear in mind that untreated retinal detachment can lead to permanent loss of vision. The formation of too much vitreous gel has been found to be caused by aging.
How Does RA Cause Retinal Detachment?
RA has been found to cause an eye condition called uveitis. Uveitis is inflammation in the eye and can lead to a fluid build up in the vitreous gel layer, causing retinal detachment. Retinal surgery is usually required for repairing your field of vision. RA is the root cause of greater occurrences of inflammation in your body, including the inflammation in your eyes that cause uveitis. For this reason, making sure you tell your primary care physician or rheumatologist about any of these symptoms is extremely important:
Cloudy or blurred vision
Painful aching sensation in your eyes
Increased sensitivity to light
Episodes of bloodshot eyes
Floaters. Floaters are described as tiny flashes like flies flying around in your field of vision. You may not be able to focus on one floater at a time because they move when you move your eye.
A sudden shadow in your field of vision, like on the side of you (a loss of peripheral vision).
Is Treatment For Retinal Detachment Always Surgical?
Retinal surgery is usually the only effective treatment option for repairing a detached retina. Your eye surgeon will usually perform either laser surgery (also referred to as photocoagulation) or a surgical procedure called cryopexy to repair your retina. Other surgical procedures are done for draining vitreous gel and replacing it with as special gas-filled bubble. Your ophthalmologist will recommend the best procedure for your eyes.
Managing RA can be challenging, especially if you are not aware of other health problems that it can lead to. Staying informed about your RA and about any new treatments for it is important and starts with you always visiting your physician for regularly scheduled wellness checks. For more information, contact a company like Coastal Eye Group PC.