Health Conditions That May Affect Your Eyes


Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, including the eyes. It may affect the skin around the eyelids, cause dry eye, blood vessel changes, and damage to nerves in the muscles controlling eye movement and the nerves affecting vision.

Thyroid disease

Bulging eyes may be evidence of thyroid disease. Abnormal levels of thyroid hormones may cause tissues surrounding the eye to swell, making it appear that the eye is bulging.


Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis, may cause the white parts of the eye to yellow. This is caused by an excess of billirubin, which is a compound created by the breakdown of hemoglobin.

Multiple sclerosis

One of the early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) can be seen in the eyes. When the optic nerve - the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain - turns from pink to a pale color, it may be a sign of MS, a brain tumor, or an aneurysm.


Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease. The conditions in this group include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.


The autoimmune disease psoriasis may cause inflammation of the clear membrane covering the undersides of your lids and the whites of your eye making your eyes red and painful.

Rheumatoid arthritis

RA can cause dryness and inflammation of the white of the eye and also thinning of the cornea.

Allison Bush
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Allison Bush

Allison Bush is a former HealthCentral editor who covered a wide range of health topics.