fibromyalgia and vision

The Visual Toll

Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues, has far-reaching effects on various aspects of health, including vision. Many people are surprised to learn that there is a strong link between fibromyalgia, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and macular degeneration. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss among older adults in which the macula, the central part of the retina, begins to deteriorate. Keep reading to learn more about fibromyalgia and its effects on vision.

Drinks That Worsen Eye Health

Here are a few drinks that could potentially worsen eye health:

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Sugary Drinks

Drinks with high sugar content can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels, which may exacerbate conditions like diabetic retinopathy, affecting the blood vessels in the eyes.

Alcoholic Beverages

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to toxic optic neuropathy, where alcohol acts as a toxin to the optic nerves, potentially leading to vision loss.

Very Hot Drinks

Studies have shown that drinking beverages at very high temperatures might contribute to eye stress and even trigger the development of AMD due to vascular stress.

What we decide to eat and drink can have a massive impact on our overall well-being and health, which includes that of our eyes and vision.

What Exactly is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body and can lead to widespread pain, fatigue and cognitive disturbances. Scientists do not fully understand what causes it. Anyone can get it, but women are more likely than men to get it. While there is no cure, there are ways to manage the symptoms. It can affect people of any age, even children, but is most common in middle age and increases in the probability of having it as you get older.

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Muscle and joint stiffness.
  • Tenderness to touch.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs.
  • Problems with concentrating, thinking clearly and memory.
  • Increased sensitivity to light, noise, odors and temperature.
  • Digestive issues.

Fibromyalgia and Vision Problems

While it may come as a surprise, there is a strong correlation between fibromyalgia and vision problems. This is because fibromyalgia affects the body’s nervous system, making the body’s nerves more sensitive, which could lead to a deterioration in eye health. Some common vision problems include:

Blurred or Double Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual complaint and can fluctuate in severity throughout the day.

Dry Eyes

Fibromyalgia can affect the moisture levels of the eyes, leading to irritation and a feeling of dryness in the eyes.

Sensitivity to Light

Many people with fibromyalgia report an increased sensitivity to both natural and artificial light.

Difficulty Focusing

Some people report difficulty in shifting focus between objects near and far.

Macular Degeneration

The macula is the part of the retina that gives the eye clear vision in the direct line of sight.

Dry macular degeneration is a common eye disorder among people over 50 that causes blurred or reduced central vision due to the breaking down of the inner layers of the macula.

Understanding the Link Between Fibromyalgia and Vision Problems

The connection between fibromyalgia and vision problems is not fully understood, despite it being relatively common. A study per PubMed states that approximately 50% of patients with fibromyalgia have damage to the nerve fibers around the body, which can lead to vision issues. Several theories have been suggested as to why fibromyalgia and vision problems are linked, including:

Central Sensitization

Fibromyalgia involves central sensitization, where the nervous system goes into a persistent state of high reactivity, potentially affecting the nerves responsible for vision.

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

This system regulates bodily functions, including the adjustment of pupil size and focus. Dysregulation, common in fibromyalgia, could impair these automatic visual adjustments.

Co-existing Conditions

Conditions like dry eye syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome are common in fibromyalgia patients and could indirectly contribute to vision issues.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms can also impact visual acuity and eye health.