Lyme Disease and Your Eyes

By: Robert B. Feldman, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist & Retina Specialist at Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region

Lyme disease is very prevalent in upstate New York. At Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region, we’re seeing more and more patients this time of year with vision problems caused by Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include rash, fatigue, and fever. Lyme disease can also affect your eyes. In the early stages, Lyme disease can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye), floaters and photosensitivity.

In later stages, Lyme disease can cause severe eye issues including:

Uveitis

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the middle part of the eye. Symptoms include redness, pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and dark floating spots in the field of vision.

Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the fibers that cover the optic nerve. Symptoms of the disease include pain in the eye, inability to see color and vision loss.

Keratitis

Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea. Keratitis may cause pain in the eye, light sensitivity, tearing and blurred vision.

Retinal Vasculitis

Retinal vasculitis is inflammation of the blood vessels of the retina. Common signs of this disorder are painless, gradual vision loss.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. With early treatment, vision loss can often be avoided.

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