What Autoimmune Diseases Affect the Eyes?

Ask a Doctor

My co-worker isn’t allowed to drive anymore because he said he has an autoimmune disorder and he can’t see. What autoimmune disorder can make you go blind or otherwise affect your vision?

Doctor’s Response

Autoimmune disease can affect any part of the body, including the eyes. Certain autoimmune disorders specifically target the eyes including ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, Mooren’s corneal ulcer, and some forms of uveitis.

Other autoimmune diseases are systemic and affect a wide variety of organs in the body, including the eyes. In multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis, double vision or drooping eyelids can occur. Graves’ disease can cause a bulging eyeball. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus may cause eye inflammation and dry eye.

In addition, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a medication commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can damage the eye and lead to retinal atrophy.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Anthony Dewilde, OD, FAAO. Autoimmune Disease and the Eye. 10 February 2018. 26 December 2018 .

C. Stephen Foster, M.D. Ocular Autoimmune Disease: An Introduction. 2018. The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation. 26 December 2018 .