We often think of psoriasis as affecting our skin, joints, and nails. However, the inflammatory nature of psoriasis can also increase our risk of developing eye disorders such as uveitis, dry eye, and conjunctivitis. If you have psoriasis, here are five things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and prevent serious complications.
1. Get Regular Check ups
Uveitis, pronounced (“you-vee-EYE-tis”) is a term that refers to different diseases related to inflammation in the eye. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the disorder impacts about 0.1 percent of Americans. For those with psoriatic arthritis, the risk increases to about seven percent. This risk goes up even higher for children with psoriatic arthritis. Because early detection of eye disease can reduce the risk of permanent vision loss, it is important that you make regular eye check-ups. At the eye appointment, be sure to let your doctor know that you have psoriasis.
2. Call Your Doctor for Psoriasis Near the Eyes
Many of us manage our own psoriasis whenever possible. However, if your psoriasis begins to creep near your eyes, it is important to let your medical provider know as soon as possible. Treating psoriasis around the eyelids can be especially tricky. Swelling around the eyes can impair vision, so your doctor may have a different treatment for your eye area than other parts of your body. Your doctor may also want to manage the treatment more closely because eyelid skin is delicate and can be easily damaged.
3. Enjoy Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dry eye is a common condition that can feel uncomfortable and reduce your vision. Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been reported as an effective therapy for dry eye syndrome. These essential fatty acids can be found in some of our foods and can also be taken as a supplement. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
4. Know the Symptoms
If you have psoriasis, you need to be educated about some of the more common eye disorders that can present without warning. For example, uveitis can be associated with blurred vision, floaters, eye pain, redness of the eye, and sensitivity to light. Dry eye can cause a scratchy sensation or the feeling that there is something in the eye. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, may cause the affected eye to be painful, itchy, or have a burning sensation. And just like psoriasis, each person may experience eye symptoms in different ways.
5. Talk to Your Doctor About Treatment Options
Science and medicine are constantly advancing. This is especially true when it comes to psoriasis treatment options. If you are experiencing eye problems, treatments could vary from eye drops to injections to medications taken orally. Your eye doctor will be able to guide you to the most effective treatment.