Fibromyalgia, a chronic, debilitating, autoimmune syndrome causing severe pain in the muscles and tissues as well as fatigue in over 6 million people in the U.S. alone, often causes various other problems, including eye and vision problems. Fibromyalgia affects the nervous system, and therefore, can impact eyesight. It can cause the eyes to become sensitive to both light and touch, and can induce dry eyes, blurred vision, and even blindness.
Sometimes, those who suffer from fibromyalgia become overly sensitive to different sources of light. For instance, some may find it impossible to work under the glare of fluorescent lights or to watch a bright TV or computer screen. Some even find it impossible to watch a live sports game in a brightly illuminated field or to be in bright sunlight without wearing dark glasses.
Fibromyalgia sufferers may discover that they can no longer wear contact lenses because the lenses cause pain and discomfort. This sensitivity is often caused by Sicca syndrome, a closely related autoimmune syndrome that results in dry eyes, as well as dry mouth and nose.
A few of those suffering from fibromyalgia cannot tolerate wearing spectacles because the weight of the glasses on the nose triggers sensory nerves in the face and neck, and those pains can radiate to the ears, teeth, and nose.
In some cases, fibromyalgia can cause sufferers to produce a thick mucus on the eyes. This thick coating impairs vision, and can make some activities, such as night driving, dangerous. Double vision and blurred vision are also symptoms common in those who have fibromyalgia, and these symptoms are often linked to other symptoms, including vertigo and postural dizziness.
In some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia can lead to arteritis, an inflammation of one or both temporal arteries. Without rapid treatment with high doses of steroids, the inflammation can spread to the optic nerve and result in partial or complete blindness in the affected eye.