Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome affecting many people, mainly women that cause long-term pain in many areas of your body.
Fibromyalgia can cause joint, tendon, soft tissue, and muscle pain all over the body.
An area that is commonly overlooked in fibromyalgia patients is the eye. It is no surprise that fibromyalgia causes eye problems due to the eye containing six main muscles to control movement. Because fibromyalgia affects the nervous system it can affect one’s vision.
The causes of eye problems with patients who have fibromyalgia are linked to the nervous system.
Fibromyalgia over time deteriorates your nervous system. Because nerves play a key role in all body functions, it comes as no surprise it can affect your eyes as well.
Nerves that travel to your eye deteriorate and cause an array of problems. Fibromyalgia can deteriorate the nerves fully, or just a little.
The fibromyalgia can cause a few symptoms, many symptoms, or sometimes none at all.
Fibromyalgia Eye Symptoms
Symptoms of fibromyalgia in the eyes are simple, but can sometimes be overlooked. One may experience blurred or impaired vision.
These vision problems could start just at night while driving in the dark. One may feel their eyes straining to see road signs, or squinting to see the lines on the road.
Fibromyalgia can affect one’s vision, but might not be attributed to fibromyalgia. Vision changes can occur for many reasons such as old age.
It is important to consider that if you have fibromyalgia and experience changes in vision to contact your doctor.
Another symptom is that one may experience pain while reading print. Because fibromyalgia can negatively affect your vision reading smaller print may become more difficult.
When trying to read print becomes more difficult it may hurt to strain one’s eyes. The eye pain could be a result of the fibromyalgia.
Along with blurred vision, double vision is also common in patients with fibromyalgia.
Double vision can occur while one is trying to focus on one object. Another symptom of fibromyalgia is dry eyes.
When the eye muscles cannot properly function, the eye cannot properly lubricate itself.
Due to this, the eyes become dry. Dry eyes can be a symptom of many things, but if you have fibromyalgia is most likely the syndrome causing the dry eyes.
Lastly, a patient with fibromyalgia may experience light sensitivity. When stepping out into the sun one’s eyes may hurt and they will feel the need to squint.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia eye problems is mostly management of the disease. To cope with the dry eye it is recommended to use eye drops for dry eyes.
These drops can be used multiple times a day. Using these drops for an extended period of time will help reverse the dry eyes and let the patient live more comfortably.
If the patient suffers from light sensitivity sunglasses should be worn when going outside.
By wearing sunglasses it will help protect the eyes. The sunglasses will limit the amount of light that reaches the naked eye.
For patients who are experiencing vision problems, an eye doctor will be able to help with the vision problems.
A doctor could prescribe contacts or glasses for the patients. The glasses or contacts could be worn at all times, or just at certain times throughout the day.
In some cases, the nerves are damaged enough that glass or contacts cannot be worn.
The nerves are too sensitive to touch the bridge of the nose or touch the eye to put in a contact. In these cases, the patient may use a magnifying glass to read or rely on others to help.
In other cases, the patient may learn to use braille to help continue their daily life. Patients could also use voice-activated systems to help with daily life.
In some extreme cases, fibromyalgia can cause blindness in some patients. The nerves that lead to the eyes can sometimes become inflamed and cause the eyes to become blind.
In some cases, it is partial blindness while in more extreme cases it is complete blindness.
When the fibromyalgia affects these nerves it can sometimes be caught early and treated with steroids.
In certain cases, the steroids can stop the inflammation and prevent complete blindness.
Fibromyalgia can lead to a variety of problems in one’s eyes. When dealing with fibromyalgia it is important to stay in contact with your doctor to track the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Through keeping diligent with your symptoms you can manage it and avoid extremes such as blindness.
Fibromyalgia and Dry Eyes
Fibromyalgia affects the nervous system, and this is a problem for our eyes as it has six muscles controlling its movement. With deterioration in FM patients’ nervous system, the eyes nerves are also affected resulting in eye problems.
Dry eyes are a symptom of various conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, Graft vs. Host disease and Fibromyalgia (FMS). Dry eyes can make life unbearable as it can lead to pain, and loss of visual acuity.
Effects of Dry Eyes
A patient suffering from FMS is not going to be able to engage in daily activities such as driving, working or reading due to dry eyes. Patients with dry eyes do know of the negative impact it has in their lives and how it affects their emotional well-being.
Who is at risk of dry eye?
If you are older than 50, a woman who is post menopause and people who have a medical condition that reduces the formation of tears.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
Once you have explained to your doctor that you have dry eyes, they can diagnose what the issue is, and early treatment can prevent severe eye complications. It can help patients revert to their daily activities.
Some of the remedies that can work for dry eyes include gel eye drops. The drops coat the eyeball and relieve dryness for a long time.
You can increase your water intake. Hydration is something people underestimate, gulp down jugs or bottles of water to help.
Try doing blinking exercises. Close your eyes and squeeze for two seconds. Afterward, open your eyes slowly for another two seconds. You can repeat as often as you can. In general, try blinking more often.
Lubricating eye drops when used consistently, are likely to reverse the dry eyes, and you can get back to reading and drive.
Fibromyalgia Eyes Burning
Burning eyes is a symptom of FM and at times can stay for a long time.
Causes of eyes burning
Eye care specialists do state that it isn’t medical conditions only that cause eyes to burn. Other factors such as sunscreen in the eyes, smoke, smog, and dust can cause your eyes to burn. Common medical issues like allergies, viral and bacterial infections cause eyes to burn.
A visit to an eye specialist will know the underlying source of your eye infection.
Remedies of Burning Eyes
Always, visit an eye specialist for help and proper diagnosis of the infection.
You can use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears. If you plan to use them for a long time, you can get one that is preservative-free.
Apply a cool compress gently to your closed eyelids to help you soothe your eyes.
Fibromyalgia Eye Twitching
Doctors call eye twitching blepharospasm. This is when your upper eyelid blinks, and you cannot make it stop. It can affect one eye or both. You can notice this when your eyelid moves every few seconds for a minute or more.
The twitches are painless, but when they are strong, your eyelid can shut entirely then reopens after a while.
Three types of twitches
One is the minor eyelid twitch that is connected to stress consumption alcohol, caffeine or tobacco, lack of proper sleep and when fatigued. It can be as a result of irritation of the cornea.
The second type is Benign essential blepharospasm that occurs in mid-to-late adulthood and gets worse over time. In the US, about 2,000 people get diagnosed with benign essential blepharospasm per year. It is common in women than in men.
Wind or air pollution, stress and fatigue cause eye twitches. At first, it can be non-stop blinking, and then it progressively gets worse.
Its severity symptoms are sensitivity to light and blurry vision. Facial spasms and in intense cases your eyelids shut for a few hours.
Type three is hemifacial spasm. It involves the muscles around your eyelid and mouth and only affects one side of your face. This type of eye twitch is quite rare.
The primary cause is pressure on your facial nerve by an artery.
Treating Eye Twitching
You can use eye drops for irritated eyes and try cutting off your alcohol, caffeine and tobacco consumption.
Widely used treatment for hemifacial spasm is botulinum toxin which is a mix of Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin.
Alternative treatments can be acupuncture, nutrition therapy, wearing tinted glasses and chiropractic. If they fail, surgery is the last resort where a doctor performs myectomy. This is removing some of the nerves and muscles around your eyelid.
Is Eye Twitching a Symptom of FMS?
It can affect a few people as not everyone has it, though it is a cause for concern when it happens often. This is a more common symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome than for FMS.
Fibromyalgia Eye Floaters
What are Eye Floaters?
These are small spots that appear in your field of vision. They are quite noticeable especially when you are looking at the blue sky, a white paper or something bright. Eye floaters might be a nuisance but shouldn’t affect your vision.
A floater can be big and cast a shadow over your vision, but it is only noticeable when under certain types of light. Some people live with floaters for years and don’t require treatment.
Types of Eye Floaters
Floaters mean they dart around your eye when you try to focus on them. They can be in different shapes, such as rings, gray or black dots, cobwebs or thread-like strands.
Causes of Eye Floaters
Majority of the floaters are flecks of the collagen protein that is part of the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance found at the back of your eye.
They can happen at any age but mostly between 50 and 75. If you have had cataract surgery or you’re nearsighted, you’re likely to have them.
Some of the rare causes are an eye disease, diabetic retinopathy, eye tumors or an eye injury.
Are Eye Floaters a Symptom of Fibromyalgia?
Since most people have floaters, they are not necessarily related to FMS, hence, no it isn’t a symptom.
When to see a doctor
Either way, when you have more floaters than you had before, go and see your doctor. When you experience retina problems, go and see an ophthalmologist to help you before you lose your sight.
Fibromyalgia Eye Swelling
Eye problems are prevalent among FMS patients, and eye swelling is one of them.
What is Eye Swelling?
Blepharitis, the scientific term for eye swelling, is the inflammation of the tissue that is around the eye.
Causes of Blepharitis
Dryness and irritation will cause the eye to swell. A bacterial and fungal eyelid infection, parasites such as Demodex eyelash mites, Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), and dry eyes.
An infection is the most common cause of eye swelling. The bacteria build up underneath the eyelid’s surface and creates a biofilm. The biofilm grows and is a source of food for tiny mites that begin to feed and hence cause irritation and inflammation of the eyes.
Blepharitis relation to Fibromyalgia
This condition is common in people who have autoimmune conditions like psoriasis. And it is known that people with FMS are at a higher risk of developing autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome. The link, as many have speculated, is that FMS is an autoimmune condition.
The apparent link between FMS and blepharitis are conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjorgen’s syndrome destroys the cells that produce moisture in the eyes resulting in your eyes drying out and contributes to blepharitis. For those who have FMS, there’s a higher chance of suffering from it.
Treating Eye Swelling
Before you treat your eye, visit an eye doctor who will determine what has caused your eye to swell. After close evaluation, your doctor will determine which treatment is appropriate.
The treatments typically are as follow
Eyelid scrubs to remove biofilm build-up and excess bacteria from the eyelid. Apply a warm compress daily and lid scrubs to eliminate bacteria and reduce the number of Demodex mites on your lids. You can use eyelid cleaners, non-prescription eyelid cleaning pads or diluted baby shampoo.
For a more effective blepharitis treatment, get in-office procedures done. Electromechanical lid margin debridement removes biofilm, Demodex mites and biofilm on your eyelid more effectively. It also opens any meibomian glands that clogged.
Another in-office procedure is Lipiflow or thermal pulsation treatment that melts any material that is obstructing the meibomian glands.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is an in-office procedure that opens clogged lid glands. It also helps the tear film to have the regular flow of oil to it.
Medicated ointments or eye drops to treat excess bacteria or microbes on the eyelids, especially if they can cause an eye infection.
At home remedies
To maintain eye hygiene, wash your hands and dip a towel in nearly hot water. Place the hot cloth over closed eyelids for a few minutes and gently rub the margin with the washcloth without opening your eyes. Make sure you don’t press too hard on your eyes with the hot cloth.
Clean your eyelids daily to prevent bacteria, Demodex mites build up on the eyelid margin will avoid blepharitis from returning.
Fibromyalgia Flashing Lights in Eyes
Photopsias is another term for eye flashes and occurs when the retina is torn or tugged from the back of the eye. A blow to the head can shift the gel inside the eye, and you will see stars.
Immediate attention is required once a retinal tear has occurred, as it will help reduce the chances of you losing your eye.
What Flashes appear like?
Eye flashes can be either jagged lines that happen in both eyes and can last for about 10 to 20 minutes. Examples of flashes are seeing stars or jagged lines.
Who is at risk of experiencing flashes?
People who are over 50, have undergone eye surgery, there is a family history of retinal tear and if you have suffered from some retinal disease like a lattice.
An eye specialist is likely to use a unique light, and eye drops to check if your retina is torn or has detached.
Flashes are likely to be a symptom FMS patients experience. Zigzag patterns in your field of vision are common. The patterns make it seem as if you are to have a migraine, but it never develops.
Talk to your doctor about countermeasure options that can help you to deal with flashes.
Fibromyalgia causes Blurry Vision
Double or blurry vision is a symptom of FMS. Fibromyalgia can cause patients to have a thick mucus on the eyes, and the coating impairs vision and hinders one from driving at night.
Causes of Blurry Vision
Myopia – is nearsightedness that causes objects in the distance to be blurred. Eye strain, headaches, and squinting are some of the symptoms that accompany myopia.
The Onset of presbyopia. This affects older people as you get blurred vision when you are reading a newspaper or small print up close. This is an age-related condition.
Astigmatism is having blurry vision at all distances. It occurs due to an irregularly shaped cornea.
Treatment for Double Vision
You can wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct nearsightedness. Refractive surgery like PRK and LASIK treats astigmatism.
Bifocals, reading glasses and progressive lenses are the common treatments for presbyopia.
When your eyes are tired from looking at the screen of your tablet or computer for a long time, your vision is bound to be blurry. To make it better, close your eyes for some time. Listen to music or an audiobook to relax.
Fibromyalgia Optic Neuritis
Optic neuritis occurs in people over 45 and affects women more than men. This is a condition that affects people with FMS, due to it being a condition that attacks nerves.
Causes of Optic Neuritis
Viral infections, nutrition deficiency, toxins from alcohol and tobacco, and neurological disorders. Drugs such as some antibiotics can cause optic neuritis.
Symptoms of Optic Neuritis
Eye movement can cause some people to have flashes. You can experience a dull ache behind your eye as a result of eye movement. It is possible to lose vision in one eye, but it is temporary and improves after a few days or weeks.
Your color perception is affected due to optic neuritis, and you might notice some colors are less vivid than others.
Treating Optic Neuritis
It usually improves on its own, though at times some steroid medication is used to reduce inflammation of the optic nerve. Though there are effects of using steroids such as insomnia, weight gain, upset stomach, and much more.
Plasma exchange therapy is an option that is considered when steroids aren’t working. It could help you to recover your eye vision if you lost it due to optic neuritis.
Fibromyalgia Eye Socket Pain
Pain in the eye socket is common among patients who suffer from Fibromyalgia. This is because the muscles in the neck are tense.
Pain radiating from the neck can cause neck headaches which are as a result of muscles pulling at the base of the skull. This pain extends to the head and you can feel it in the eye sockets.
Treating eye socket pain can be resolved by doing some exercises
While standing, lower your chin to your chest and hold for 10 seconds, then tilt your head back and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this process twice.
While on your feet, drop your head to one side while looking ahead and hold for 10 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the exercise twice.
For a more advanced stretch, check out this YouTube video that will help you relieve the tension in your neck muscles.