Psoriatic Arthritis and Eye Symptoms

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you might get thick, red patches of skin with scales on them. Your joints may swell and ache, too.

Symptoms might also show up in places you don’t expect, like your eyes. Here’s what you need to know.

How Psoriatic Arthritis Affects Your Eyes

Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune diseases. That means they cause your body to attack itself by mistake. This can trigger inflammation in certain parts of the body, including your eyes.

If your eyes are irritated and you have psoriasis, you may have uveitis. That's a term for any inflammation inside your eye. It can lead to swelling and damaged eye tissue. Uveitis may affect one or both eyes. Symptoms include:

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis may help your uveitis. Your doctor might also give you steroid drugs that curb your immune system. These may ease eye inflammation.

Other Conditions

Ongoing inflammation can lead to other eye issues. These include:

Conjunctivitis (pinkeye). This is inflammation or infection of the layer that covers the white part of your eyes. Symptoms include:

  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Feeling like there’s something in your eye
  • Crusty discharge
  • Tearing up

Your eye doctor can treat pinkeye.

Glaucoma. This is a group of conditions that damage your optic nerve. It often starts with inflammation that causes a buildup of pressure in your eye. Symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Halos or empty spots in your line of vision
  • Eye pain and redness

You may not have any of these if the disease is in its early stages. That's why regular eye exams are important. Your eye doctor can catch it even if yo’re not showing symptoms. Glaucoma can also be a side effect of taking corticosteroids for psoriatic arthritis. Talk to you doctor about how to lower this risk.

Cataracts. That ’s when inflammation turns the clear lens of your eye cloudy. Symptoms can include:

  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Changes to your glasses or contacts prescription

Steroids you put on your skin or take by mouth for long periods of time can raise your risk for this disease. Cataracts are usually treated with surgery. Your eye doctor will take out the cloudy lens and put in an artificial one.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on August 01, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

UpToDate: “Patient education: Psoriatic arthritis (Beyond the Basics).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Psoriatic Arthritis.”

National Eye Institute: “Uveitis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Uveitis: A Threat to Eyesight.”

Medscape: “Psoriatic Arthritis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pink eye (conjunctivitis),” “Glaucoma,” “Cataracts.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Six Ways Arthritis Can Affect Your Eyes.”

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