Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis Community
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358258 tn?1197408877

Crohn's and Eye problems?!

My name is Rachael and I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in 2001, when I was fifteen. I haven't had any relief yet, and have never been in remission for almost seven years.  My question pertains to my eyes.  Every time I have gone to see my GI he always asks questions that seem common to Crohn's patients...Any skin rashes? Eye problems? Chest pain? yadda, yadda, yadda...  Well, I just recently started having problems with my eyes.  I have been getting styes frequently, and a lot of itching, redness, and irritation. I was wondering if anybody out there knows what the correlation between eye problems and Crohn's is; or if anyone has any suggestions for me.  I know that everyone has there own problems, but I would love to get some responses on this subject. And in the future, I will do all I can to help all of you.

Thank you so much. Take Care and God Bless.


p.s. I have gotten rid of my eye make-up and all eye irritants. I use a mild dove soap for face wash, so there is no difference there. Just thought I should add that.
14 Responses
203342 tn?1328740807
Hmm, that's interesting. I heard something about the eyes too with Crohns but I thought it was pertaining to sight. I myself was just diagnosed with Crohns a few months ago and interestingly enough for the first time in my life I noticed things are a little blurry. It's not too bad, but enough to need reading glasses. I saw my eye doctor and he said I could benefit from reading glasses. I had never had a problem before, ever. I always had 20/20 vision. It makes me wonder if it's related to the Crohns or I'm just getting older. I'm only 42 though and my mother didn't need reading glasses until she was in her 60's. I don't know.
I'm more inclined to think or wonder if you may have an allergy to a certain make-up or lotion or have exzema or something. But I'm not a doctor so I don't know. I know I wasn't much help. Sorry :(
Hope you get some answers soon.
Avatar universal
My daughter is fifteen and was just diagnosed with Crohn's in early November.  She has had a severe case of it.  She is much better now that she is on medication but her vision has gotten worse especially in her right eye.  She was very nearsighted before but I know that even with contacts her right eye's vision was still blurry.  As a matter of fact we just went to the eye doctor today and he said her right eye was much worse.  She has 20/2400 vision and perfect vision is 20/20!  Your eye problems more than likely has nothing to do with your eye makeup or anything else but Crohn's.  Google Crohn's effect on vision and maybe you will get some answers.  Crohn's is an autoimmune disease.  It could be something along the line of how Crohn's affect the blood vessels or it could be due to the Prednisone.  Prednisone has made my daughter have increased glucose levels and you may need to have those checked as the prednisone can cause you to have diabetic type symptoms which does definitely cause increased eye problems.  I am not certain if the eye problems would be long term or if it will get better when you get off of medication.  Make a list of questions for your doctor or pharmacist so you will be prepared when you go back or you could call and talk to the nurse.  Crohn's also caused my daughter this summer to have infiltrates which required her to be on antibiotic eye drops.  Her eyes would get really red and get little bumps off and on the whites of her eyes before she started taking medication...  My daughter also has a connective tissue disorder called Loeys Dietz Syndrome which doesn't help anything else be easier but at least so far it seems to be a mild case...  You do need to see an eye doctor and have them check your eyes.  If you have an infection, you may not even be able to tell and that's why when you have Crohn's it is important to see an eye doctor!

Good luck!  Blessings and peace!
from Atlanta

Avatar universal
Hi Rachael,

iveitis (inflammation of the scelera of the eye) is a common side effect of Crohn's and can indeed affect eyesight.  When I was first dx in 1970,  24 yrs old, and woke up after a laparotomy (no scopes then), I thought the windows in my room had frosted glass - I was unable to see more than 3 ft. As soon as I was discharged from hospital I saw an optician and needed glasses for long distance. My eyesight  has over the long term obviously deteriorated and I now need graduated lenses.

Tina - I also get white bumps on the whites of my eyes but have sadly never had them checked out. Will do next time I see them.

Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with crohn's in 2003 since than i have had 7 surgeries never been in remission, i have experienced problems with my eyes and never couldn't explain what i felt but just like Liz said is like everything is frosted i have used glasses for long time but now is getting worse my eyes are very irritated, dry, and they burn very much i have tried everything but nothing helps, i have heard that it got something to do with the inflamation of the sclera of the eye also if you go to an ophtamologist he can look into the iris of the eye and see the inflamation so i know it has a lot to do with the crohn's but is driving me crazy, also i get sking tags on the inside of the eyelid and the corners of the eyes and usually happens when i am having a flare up.
sometimes i feel like i am going crazy because i get this weird symptoms but i see that i am not and i am sorry for saying this but i am glad I am not the only one, your comments help me a lot.

thank you for sharing

198198 tn?1200014517
Well I can definetely relate! I have been having problems with my eyes as well and I can't wait to go to see an eye specailist. Sometimes I can't see hardly at all and it's gotten so bad that I can't see at all to drive at night, I don't feel safe for myself or anyone else. I thought maybe it was just allergies but my doctor believes that it's crohn's relatated also. I believe he is right. The pain gets so bad, I don't know if anyone knows anyone who has flashed their eyes while welding but that's close I guess,  my husband welds and he has experienced alot of problems from welder's flash! My eyes swell and the pressure and the pain is just inbareable at times!

Have any of you used any sort of eye drops? And does it help and how about steroids, do you take prednizone or entorcort? I'm on entorcort, remicade and a few others and it's time for an infusion tomorrow finally, the remicade helps alot!
Avatar universal
Sounds like blepharitis to me. I have it myself and you can get recurring styes, and flakes on the eyelashes, it's like dandruff on the lashes they also can fall out, be itchy and red, etc. I have no idea about Chrohn's but ended up here searching because I have bowel problems and alot of other stuff that makes me feel like an old person.

Avatar universal
Marie I do beg to differ - blepharitis is a skin condition of the eyelids, nothing to do with blurring sight etc. I suffered from styes as a young child, hospitalised many times, then blepharitis from the age of 13 -my eyelashes dropped out, had huge weeping scabs on both eyelids and conjunctivitis in one or other eye each week. I was then also hospitalised many times and even had my eyes taken out to clean behind them. I saw an allergist but they were unable to pinpoint the problem. At age 18 and dating, I had to get green lenses in spectacles to hide the problem and there was nothing wrong with my vision - until I went on to 60 mg a day steroids after a laparotomy to diagnose Crohn's. I later found out that the blepharitis was due to a nickel allergy as I went to a vocational school for secretarial studies at 13 yrs. In those far off days the typewriter had a metal return bar and by touching my eyes, I had an allergic reaction to nickel. As soon as I started using an electronic keyboard with no metal return bar, the problem cleared up like magic. I have never been able to wear "junk or cosmetic jewellery" as anything with nickel gives me an instant allergic reaction.

If you have recurring bowel problems, whatever they are (as you don't give any detail) I would respectfully suggest you go and see a gastroenterologist and get a proper diagnosis. Although those of us with Crohn's can help with our own experiences, we cannot diagnose your problem over the internet - and neither can any doctor.You need proper testing. You may find it is something simple to sort out, but you will never find an answer on the internet. Hope you get to see a gastro and get a proper diagnosis and medication, if necessary.

Take care both,
Avatar universal
i just return from seeing my doctor because i am going thru a flare up and as i mention it before my eyes were bothering me a lot.
well he said that the cornea and iris of my eyes are inflame due to the crohn's and i need to go see an ophtamologist to get prescription steroids eye drops to relieve the inflammation other wise the retina of the eye will detach from the eye due to the pressure and my eye sight is going to become worse due to the illness. i don't mean to bring bad news but is better to find out sooner than later, also he told me that i have developed arthritis on my hands, elbows and feet so now i have to increase my remicade to every 4 weeks instead of 6 weeks, i am very deppresed and i am only 27 years old but i feel 90

check with your doctor and see if you need special eye drops to help the inflammation

Avatar universal
i have had crohn's disease for about a year and a half now and have had eye problems on and off for over a year now. first i developed corneal ulcers and also uveitis-both extremely painful!!! on four occassions i have had to get the ulcers removed from my eye, which i find extremely painful for days afterwards. i cannot focus on anything at all and have to lye in a dark room. it feels as though i have a blade left in my eye that is tearing the eyelid. (the first few times i developed ulcers, i was lucky enough that antibiotic cream worked).
Avatar universal
In 2002 I was treated for iritis. "The most common type of uveitis is an inflammation of the iris called iritis (anterior uveitis)." I had to take steriod drops in both my eyes and could only wear my glasses for what seemed like forever.  Oddly enough I never know there was a connection between that and Crohns.  I just found out about the Crohns in 2007.  Could I have had crohns for all these years with out really knowing?  
Avatar universal
Not a doctor so can't really coment technically.If you don't have abdominal problems, no need to worry about your eyes.   All I know is that I had severe problems with inflammation in my eyes in my teens, got Crohn's at 24 yrs. If you are concerned, go and see a gastro and get tested. There could be many more diseases that cause inflammation in the eyes so perhaps you could see an opthalmologist.
Just check out all avenues.What makes you think you have Crohn's? Do you have diarrhea/weight loss/ severe pain in the abdomen?

Tale care,

420368 tn?1209075306
I got crohn's too. have a doctor check for scleritis, inflammation of the sclera....good luck.
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