Did you know that the eye has six main muscles to control its movement? I certainly didn’t. And because fibromyalgia affects our nervous system, it stands to reason that it will affect our eyes and vision as well.
The nervous system deteriorates in FM patients, so the nerves to our eyes can deteriorate and cause problems. It’s a good idea to get your eyes checked each year. My eyesight seems to keep changing, so I need to keep updating my prescription.
Nutritional deficiencies, as well as some of the medications we take, can make our eye issues worse. Below are a few of the issues FM patients can have with our eyes:
Blurred or impaired vision: The ocular muscles that are affected by FM can cause us to experience double or blurred vision. This is especially true when I’m tired. I notice my vision is apt to get more blurry when I’m tired or looking at a screen too long, whether it’s my phone, tablet, or TV. To give my eyes a much-needed break, I listen to an audio book with my eyes closed. Blurry and double vision are common and can be linked to postural dizziness and vertigo. If I get up too fast I’ll get dizzy. I’ve had vertigo episodes off and on for more than 25 years.
Difficulties with night driving: We often have a real problem driving at night because the lights of incoming cars bothers those of us with FM more than most. I haven’t been able to drive at night for years because of that.
Dry eyes: When your eye muscles can’t function properly due to FM, dry eye sometimes is a result. I use a lubricating eye drop to deal with my dry eye. It was actually my ophthalmologist who first told me that my dry eye was related to FM. Supposedly, if you use the drops consistently it can reverse the dry eye. If you are older than 50, a menopausal woman, have a thyroid disorder (I’m hypothyroid), or have a medical condition that reduces tear production (such as Sjogren’s or Sicca syndrome), you’re much more likely to experience dry eye.
Eye pain: Lack of sleep, stress, anxiety and fatigue can exacerbate eye pain. Dry eye and cluster headaches also cause me to have eye pain.
Potential blindness: I was shocked to find the nerves that lead to the eyes can become inflamed due to our FM, and in extreme cases can cause partial or total blindness.
Light sensitivity: I know I prefer dim lighting and never turn a light on until it gets dark. Bright lights can trigger headaches for me. I never go out in the sun without sunglasses.
Shift-of-focus issues: When I’m watching TV or a movie, I have to close my eyes if a scene is panning too fast or things are spinning, as that makes me feel nauseous.