Wednesday, April 28, 2010 MsKatnapper, Community Member, asks

Q: Is the dry eyes and vision loss caused by the RA?

I have both, my vision is at times worse then normal, it will blur and not want to focus?? I have always had arthritis, I have wore glasses sence age7 I am now 50, and the dry eye problems have just been off and on worse over the last few years? I am extreamly fatigued, I have at times felt narcaleptic. I was startled when I heard a relative say, Hey! are you OK...I had nodded, with no warning. At times my own body feels like it is a chore to move, to lift my arms and I think I have my foot high enough to step over a object and No, opps! its embaressing! I perfer to be on the go, my daughter says I am like a hummingbird, for the way I flit around doing things, I was multi tasking before they gave it a lable! Well Imagin a Hummingbird with RA. and yes I battle with depression.Mostly for that reason, I hate not beeing able to get things done and move at the pace I want without tripping over my own feet!

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Answers (3)
Brad, Health Guide
4/30/10 9:48pm

Hi MsKatnapper,

I would certainly have your doctor run the bloodwork for Sjogrens Syndrome. I have RA and Sjogrens, your symptoms sound an awful lot like mine. I take a medication called Salagen twice a day and use artificial tears and it really helps me quite a bit. You should definately have your eyes checked at least once a year if not twice. Many RA meds can be a bit rough on your eyesight.



MsKatnapper, Community Member
5/ 7/10 2:27am

Do you have any Idea if this  decrease in the production of the salivia and tears, would this also cause a over all loss of fluids, say moisture in the skin? I have broke out with what I thought was hives (My stress is over the top), its dry and so ichy. I have been putting V-E and neosp+pain on it so it dulls the ichies, I can not stop scratching and it looks bad.

ronie, Community Member
4/29/10 3:33pm

Witht the mention of dry eyes and mouth, have your doc test your for sjogren syndrome.  It's an basically an after symptom of RA as our immune system goes bonkers.  I too have had glasses forever but it has nothing to do with the blurred vision.  If you are on plaquenil you should have been informed to have a field of vision test done every 6 months.  It is not a standard eye test and a opthamologist has to give you one.  they get all up into your eyeball if done properly.


As for the fatigue, a couple big questions.. are you sleeping well?  if you are not sleeping well, our bodies can't heal from day to day properly and fatigue is a giant factor.  #2 when was the last time someone did a good CBC and really looked into things.  Last time I was "falling out" as your describe it, it was because I had a Red blood cell count of 4.2.. I was rushed to the emergency room and given 5 units of blood.  The doctors basically said it was a wonder I was alive.  When a RBC count drops below 8 (for women) the brain will start to shut itself down to protect itself. I was then diagnosed with chronic disease related anemia. They pulled all my rheumatologist records and he wasn't mentioning a concern about my blood tests.  The hospitial doctors were very upset.


If you are experiencing more fatigue then normal and are basically blacking out, get to your doctor asap.

Lene Andersen, Health Guide
5/ 6/10 12:41pm

You definitely need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. It is indeed very possible that you may have developed Sjogren's syndrome - one of our Experts Lisa Emrich has posted about this, so check out the post to see if it rings a bell.It's also possible for RA to cause complications with your eyes, so it's important to be checked out by an ophthalmologist about once a year


After you see the doctor, let us know what they said, please?

MsKatnapper, Community Member
6/10/10 8:44pm

I have been trying to get time to get a thank you, back to you. Any info I can get is how I get the help from my Doctor I get. I don't have a Rheumatologist I have no ins. I have a med. card from public assistance, and I am thankful I have that, but they do not always want to cover many drugs. My PCP has done the best he can but it is not his area and  would like me to see a specialist. I have been looking, the plan I have (Unison Med-Plus) does not even have a rheum. listed. I am going to call their company. Its hard to believe there is not one in the area that will honor that plan. What I do is research on my own as much as possible and take the info to my PCP and then he determines if it applys to me. Not ideal, I realise. From what I read, I will see if He thinks giving me Plaquenil-Prednisone and I have been taking Opana for pain and Ritalin for the fatigue. I have a stomach ulcer, 2 years ago nearly bled to death. I could not get a doctor that would listen to me. I went several times to a couple different Doc. and was told there was nothing wrong with me till I was just eo weak to lift my head and my freind took me to the ER and Thank God a young Doctor, new to our local hospital found I had a bleeding ulcer and had lost so much blood and was so dehydrated, He immeditally got fluids in me and a blood transfusion. I am having the most horrible time this pass 2 weeks.I am in so much pain my head is not even working well, getting this wrote has been ruff. I have Never been this bad and I have had RA all my life. Of late I wake to my hand feeling like they are in a blast furnace and it don't go away for awhile. They also tingle and get numb. I was told it is Corporal tunnel but I have a curvature in the lower part of my spine and with the RA I am thinking that's whats wrong with the hands. The stress around here has been running pretty high and I guess that's not in my favor either. I Have got a lot of peace of mind in just being able to read the things that other people are dealing with, god knows I wish no one had to feel like this but at least I see I am not the only one. Thank you all for taking the time to reply."You are all in My prayers,TY, MsKatnapper

Lene Andersen, Health Guide
6/11/10 12:11pm

Every time I hear a story like yours about not being able to get medical care because of no insurance, I get so sad. I hope the changes to the health care act in the US will make a difference for you.


In the meantime, Lisa Emrich, one of our Experts has written a post about what to do if you don't have insurance that may give you a place to start so you can get the care you need.


good luck! Please let us know how it goes?

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By MsKatnapper, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 04/28/10