Discoid lupus, a form of cutaneous lupus, is the type of lupus that affects the skin. This includes the skin of the eyelids, and may result in the loss of eyelashes.
Symptoms: Skin lesions are raised, slightly scaly, and mis-formed. They may scar.
Prevalence: Very uncommon among people with lupus.The Lupus Foundation of America notes that this may occur in 1% of people with lupus and “may be the first sign of the disease.” However, scleritis is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Symptoms: The sclera (the white part of the eyeball) becomes discolored and looks yellow. It is also painful.
Additionally, inflammation is possible throughout the eye including the:
This inflammation may cause discomfort, redness, or other symptoms. As with all of the previous complications, you should speak with your lupus treatment team if you experience changes to your vision.
The eyes, medications, & lupus
Immunosuppressant medications, antimalarials, and steroids, which are prescribed to help battle lupus, can all cause eye problems. Because of this, yearly eye examinations are recommended by the American Optometric Association, particularly for anyone taking Plaquenil. Additionally, people starting Plaquenil should get a baseline eye exam before starting (or shortly after starting) the medication.
Co-morbidities are nothing new for Lupus Warriors. Being vigilant and expressing any new symptoms to your rheumatologists, ophthalmologist, or other members of your lupus treatment team is crucial to maintain eye health.