Because psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a condition that affects the joints, most people are unaware that the genetic and environmental factors that cause psoriatic arthritis can also impact your eyes. The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that having psoriatic disease increases your chances of developing eye disorders. Although PsA is less frequently diagnosed in Blacks, Blacks are more severely impacted by psoriatic disease. So exactly how does PsA affect your eyes?
What is the connection between the eyes and PsA?
PsA can impact both the outside and inside of your eyes.
“The connective tissues of the eyes and joints share similarities. They both contain collagen and hyaluronic acid, and that may explain eye involvement,” Tim Barr, M.D., an optometrist at Island Eye Care, in Kent Island, MD says. “It also may be the nature of the type of inflammation triggered by autoimmune disease.”
About half of people with PsA experience psoriasis on their face, which can cause plaques to form around the eyes. These plaques can cover your eyelids or lashes and prevent them from working properly and leading to further irritation.
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3 eye conditions caused by PsA
This is one of the most common eye issues with PsA, Dr. Barr notes. It affects between 3% to 19% percent of people with PsA. Symptoms of this condition, which causes inflammation of the eye glands include slight irritation and burning in mild disease to severe pain and blurred vision.
Your doctor will diagnose dry eye through a comprehensive eye exam that examines the quality and quantity of your tears.
Treatment for dry eye consists of lubricating the eyes and minimizing dryness.
Conjunctivitis or pink eye can also be caused by psoriatic disease. A 2020 article in The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that more than 64% of people with psoriasis had experienced conjunctivitis.
“Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the clear covering that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball,” Dr. Barr explains. It can be either bacterial or viral, however, viral is more common.
Treatment for pink eye consists of relieving symptoms by using artificial tears, cleaning your eyelids, and applying cold or warm compresses.
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People with psoriatic arthritis (Between 7% and 40%) have a much higher risk of developing uveitis than the general population (0.1%). It can be an early sign of PsA and occur in people who have not developed joint issues. Uveitis can come and