Dry and red eyes could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.
Up to a quarter of rheumatoid arthritis patients report getting dry eyes, according to optometrist, Dr Ernie Bowling.
It’s caused by abnormalities in the tear glands, resulting from rheumatoid arthritis inflammation.
This reduces the amount of fluid secreted to the rest of the eye.
Dry eye symptoms are more common at the end of the day, when the tear glands dry up, and tears evaporate, according to medical website Healthline.
Red eyes could either be a result of dryness, or inflammation in the white part of the eye.
Scleritis – the medical name for rheumatoid arthritis-linked red eyes – could also cause reduced vision, light sensitivity, and painful eyes.
If you develop dry or red eyes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have rheumatoid arthritis.
But, if you also suffer from joint pain, unintended weight loss or fatigue, you’re more likely to suffer from the autoimmune condition.
If you have arthritis and develop dry or red eyes, you should seek medical help immediately.
The symptoms can cause the cornea to become scratched or scarred, potentially leading to blindness.
Early diagnosis is key for treatments. Eye drops could help to reduce dryness, redness and itchiness.
Corticosteroid injections could be prescribed by a doctor if symptoms aren’t relieved by eye drops.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 400,000 people in the UK, according to the NHS.
It’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking the cells that line joints by accident.
Symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, hot and tender joints, weight loss and a fever.
There’s currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment can help to relieve symptoms.