Ophthalmologic Manifestations

Visual impairment may be due to SLE or to drug treatment (corticosteroids or antimalarials) or it may be a separate problem (glaucoma or retinal detachment). Blindness due to SLE occurs, but is rare. Other visual problems may occur:

  • A Lupus rash may develop on the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis occurs in 10 percent of SLE people and is usually infectious. Kerato-conjunctivitis is usually mild
  • Cytoid bodies are the most common retinal change in SLE. They reflect microangiopathy of the retinal capillaries and localized microinfarction of the superficial nerve fiber layers of the retina
  • Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition manifest as excessive dryness of mucous membranes. Lupus persons with these symptoms require artificial tears to relieve dry eyes
  • Glaucoma and cataracts may be caused by corticosteroids
  • Antimalarials can damage the retina, which can impair vision (particularly color vision) or, in rare instances, cause blindness

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