Dry eyes caused by various diseases

The blood glucose level of a diabetic patient should always be well controlled, otherwise there is a risk of permanent damage to the eyes.

Eyes are red and burning, pain occurs with every blink of the eye. Dry eyes can affect the well-being. Severely reduce the vision. The reasons for dry eyes can be harmless – for example, working too long in front of a computer screen.

However, they can also be concomitants of more serious diseases. Often dry eyes are even the first symptom of an inflammatory rheumatic disease. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor in case of persistent dry eyes. Find out which diseases are associated with dry eyes here.

Rheumatism in the eye: Sjogren's syndrome

Rheumatism is a complex clinical picture. Over 100 diseases are attributed to rheumatism. All have chronic inflammation in common – joints, muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons can be affected. But rheumatic inflammation can also be present in organs, for example in the kidney, intestine or eye.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are affected. It is the most common form of rheumatic disease. At the same time the most frequent chronic joint inflammation. The disease cannot be cured, but its progression can be stopped or slowed down with medication. Rheumatoid arthritis is probably caused by an autoimmune disease: the body mistakenly sends immune cells to the joints, where they stimulate inflammatory processes that gradually destroy the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is often accompanied by dry eyes.

All structures in the eye can be affected by the inflammatory processes. Typical eye diseases triggered by rheumatism:

– Sjogren's syndrome – dry eye with inflamed conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) – inflammation of the sclera in the eye (scleritis) – inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) – inflammation of the middle eye skin (uveitis)

Dry eyes, glare sensitivity or blurred vision are just a few of the symptoms that a rheumatic eye disease can cause.

Dry eyes can be both an accompanying symptom of rheumatic diseases (secondary Sjogren's syndrome), as well as form their own rheumatic disease, the so-called primary Sjogren's syndrome. Primary Sjogren's syndrome occurs independently, that is, without a proven link to another disease. The reason for Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own defense system attacks the tear and salivary glands.

Since the salivary glands are usually also affected, a dry mouth with inflammation of the gums and oral mucosa is also present. Often other glands are affected and additional mucous membranes dry out, for example the nasal mucosa or the mucous membrane in the throat and bronchial tubes.

For more detailed information on rheumatic diseases, Sjogren's syndrome and dry eyes, see the chapter Rheumatism.

Scleroderma: an autoimmune disease of the connective tie

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease. In this case, the immune system attacks the connective tie, which slowly hardens as a result. Both the skin and internal organs, for example the lungs or the heart, can be affected.

Symptoms of scleroderma include circulatory problems in the hands and feet and hardening of the skin, especially on the extremities and face. The eyelids can also become stiff, so that the eye can no longer be completely closed. It dries out easily as a result. Furthermore, scleroderma patients often develop Sjogren's syndrome, as the salivary and lacrimal glands may also be affected.

Parkinson's disease: death of nerve cells leads to muscle tremors

In Parkinson's disease, the central nervous system is affected. Certain nerve cells gradually die, resulting in a deficiency of the nerve messenger dopamine. The result is symptoms such as uncontrollable muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, and restricted movement. Most people develop the disease between the age of 50. and 80. In the second year of life.

In addition to the well-known symptoms, Parkinson's patients often experience eye complaints early in the course of the disease. You complain of poor vision and difficulty reading, three quarters of all eye problems are dry eyes. This can be attributed to fewer blinks and one Poor quality of tear fluid trace back. Tear secretion is often additionally reduced.

Diabetes mellitus: diabetes damages blood vessels and nerves

Chronic diabetes has serious effects on the entire body. In diabetes, the regulation of blood glucose levels is disturbed because either too little insulin is produced or the body's cells no longer respond to insulin (insulin resistance). The hormone insulin is responsible for lowering blood glucose levels. The increased blood sugar level affects the blood vessels and nerve fibers, among other things. Especially the fine vessels and nerve fibers in the eye are quickly damaged. The eyes become inflamed more quickly because irritations of the ocular surface are passed on too late to the lacrimal glands by the damaged nerves, tear production is insufficiently activated. Dry eyes are the result.

Thyroid disease

the thyroid gland can be over- or underactive. In a healthy state, the thyroid gland is a central control point for metabolic processes in the body. In the case of hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism) the metabolism is slowed down. Symptoms such as fatigue, circulatory problems or constipation occur. The eyes can dry out due to reduced tear secretion. Often, swelling of the eyelids occurs, which sometimes results in the eye not closing completely or the tear fluid not being distributed evenly on the surface of the eye. This also promotes drying of the ocular surface.

With a Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) on the other hand, the metabolism runs at full speed. As a result, complaints such as nervousness, sleep disorders or high blood prere. Dysfunction of other glands, such as the skin or eyes, also occurs. The best known hyperfunction disease is the Graves' disease. A main symptom of this autoimmune disease is protruding eyes, which leads to incomplete eyelid closure and thus incomplete wetting of the eye surface. The eyes burn, a foreign body sensation develops. As the tear film of the eye evaporates too quickly, the eyes produce more tear fluid to compensate. Paradoxically, the eye watering. Feels dry nevertheless.

viral and bacterial infections

Various viruses can be responsible for dry eyes. The herpes virus can damage a certain cranial nerve, so that the transmission of information between brain and lacrimal glands is interrupted. Tear production can no longer be stimulated by the brain.

Some viruses infect the lacrimal glands. These become inflamed. Severely reduce tear production. The following viruses can affect the lacrimal glands:

– HI virus (trigger of AIDS) – Mumps virus – Ebstein-Barr virus (causative agent of Pfeiffer glandular fever) – Influenza (trigger of the real flu) – Measles virus

Also Bacteria can affect the lacrimal glands. These include, for example, the pathogens of scarlet fever, tuberculosis or syphilis.

Skin diseases

If Neurodermatitis If eczema occurs on the face, eczema often develops around the eyes. These can lead to swelling of the eyelids. The eyes can no longer be closed properly. The eye skin dries out easily. But even without swelling of the eyelids, dry eyes are repeatedly found in neurodermatitis patients. This is especially true for people who are affected by the skin disease Rosacea are affected.

Treat dry eyes

Dry eyes are not a trifle. Be sure to go to the doctor with the complaints to have the cause determined and receive appropriate treatment.

In the described diseases, dry eyes are usually chronic. Therefore, it is important to keep the eyes permanently and regularly moisten with eye drops. When buying eye drops, make sure that they do not contain any preservatives. These can cause additional damage to the sensitive cornea.

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