Are there health conditions that can impact my vision? William C. Womble, O.D.

Conditions that occur within   your body such as bacteria, virus or chronic disease can impact your eyes.

Most people are aware that long-term diabetes complications can lead to blindness, but there are several other eye conditions that can be worsened by diabetes including glaucoma, cataracts, nonproliferative and proliferative retinopathy and macular edema.  

Three other common health conditions that may significantly impact your vision include high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and viral infections. 

High Blood pressure, or hypertension, may go unnoticed for a long period of time because there are few outward symptoms. Left untreated HBP may lead to permanent vision problems.

Rheumatoid arthritis disorders are often times treated with steroids or hydroxychloroquine, which have side effects that may cause glaucoma or cataracts. This condition may also cause excessive dryness and inflammation of the whites of your eye, cornea thinning and pain in, and around your eye.

Viral infections such as pinkeye, shingles, herpes and other viruses can affect your vision. While sometimes the damage is temporary, and your vision will most likely return to normal, severe infections can cause inflammation, blockage in the tear drainage system or even penetration into the interior of the eye where it could cause long term damage.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, or an infection in or around your eye it’s critical to get it checked by an optometric physician. Being aware of how other health conditions can impact eyesight is an essential step toward keeping good vision. 

William C. Womble, O.D.

1822 Huntsville Hwy., Suite D, Fayetteville