West Houston Dermatology

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Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Eye Problems

Patients with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis should be aware of an eye condition known as uveitis that can affect the patient’s vision.  Uveitis refers to various eye diseases that are related to inflammation within the eye.  The uvea is the middle layer of the eye between the white part (sclera) and the inner layer (retina) that contains the majority of the eye’s blood vessels.  Inflammation within the uvea is quite serious and requires immediate treatment to prevent vision loss.  Uveitis can come on suddenly or gradually over time, but symptoms psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patients should be aware of include:  eye pain, eye redness, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, decreased field of vision, and dark floating spots in one’s field of vision.  Medical research indicates a link between psoriasis and uveitis as well as psoriatic arthritis and uveitis.  Uveitis affects about 0.1% of Americans who do not have psoriatic disease, but in those with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis 7% (or about 70 people per 1,000) may develop uveitis.  Though your dermatologist generally treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, should you develop symptoms of uveitis you should see an ophthalmologist promptly.  This is a serious condition and psoriasis patients should not be seeing an optician or optometrist, but an actual physician who specializes in the eye and diseases of the eye.  Treatment for uveitis can include steroids, but this is not ideal due to side effects and potential impact on the patient’s psoriasis treatment.  However, FDA clinical trials are underway for an oral medication to treat uveitis.