Who Else Has Fibromyalgia Eye Problems?

Fibromyalgia eye symptoms and vision difficulties

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that creates physical and mental suffering. It affects many people, with a high prevalence among women. It is responsible for causing pain in joint tendons, muscles, soft tissue, and generally all over your body. Since fibromyalgia has a strong effect on the nervous system, it can also affect your vision. This is an often overlooked symptom of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and eye pain

Fibromyalgia can negatively affect the eyes’ ability to perform daily living responsibilities like driving, detailed work, and can even cause blurred or double vision.

Fibromyalgia can cause dry eyes. This can range from mild to severe dry eye. It occurs because fibromyalgia will dry out the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose as well as the eyes. It is a condition that is called ‘sicca’. This condition can make it difficult for you to wear contact lenses and also decrease tear production by around 90%.

The National Fibromyalgia Association reports that widespread, chronic pain is the most common symptom of the disorder. Eye pain is a component of that. Fibromyalgia can affect ocular muscles in the eye. This can cause eye misalignment which might be responsible for blurred or double vision.

Some fibromyalgia patients also reports light sensitivity. This can be so extreme that some individuals even wear sunglasses whenever they go outside. It is speculated that fibromyalgia affects an area of the brain called the hypothalamus which is responsible for the body’s response to light. In even more extreme cases, fibromyalgia sufferers can be sensitive to the light from televisions, florescent tubes, and car headlights.

To summarize, the vision effects of fibromyalgia include: 

  • blurred or double vision
  • dry eye
  • eye pressure
  • decreased tear production
  • general eye pain
  • light sensitivity

What’s the best way to treat fibromyalgia’s effect on the eyes?

The best course of action is to manage the disease overall. This includes all of the familiar treatment measures that you are probably familiar with if you or a loved one suffers from fibromyalgia.

These treatments include pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, psychotherapy, stress management techniques, improving sleep quality, exercise and generally increasing healthy lifestyle behaviors.

For eye dryness, if you are experiencing dry eye is commonly recommended to use eye lubricants. You can use these over the course of the day and they can help to reverse the effects of dry eyes, allowing you to live more comfortably.

If you are experiencing photosensitivity, consider wearing sunglasses. These will help to protect you from fibromyalgia-related eye pain if light is causing you to suffer.

If you are experiencing vision problems like blurred or double vision, it would be best to consult with a doctor or an optometrist to can help you to remedy those vision issues.

*A handy resource is this forum Q&A regarding fibromyalgia and eye pain.

Can fibromyalgia cause blindness?

In very rare cases, when fibromyalgia sufferers also have rheumatoid arthritis, they will sometimes develop arteritis, which is the inflammation of temporal arteries. Some people experience a partial loss of eyesight while others lose vision completely.

Unless the eyes are rapidly treated with an intervention of high-dose steroids, inflammation can overwhelm the optic nerves, which can cause the partial or complete blindness in one or both eyes.

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating and chronic disorder. It affects millions of people in the United States and is responsible for a host of mental and physical maladies, including vision issues. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia and are concerned about developing vision problems, make sure that you consult with your physician and speak to them about your concerns.

The best way to avoid developing eye problems, or even something more severe, is to proactively manage and combat this pain disorder.