Can psoriasis go untreated

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15.06.2016 09:35
Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA)

(Düsseldorf) - Autoimmune diseases often damage the eyes. For example, in patients with psoriasis, it is often not only the skin that is affected by the disease. Prof. Dr. Uwe Pleyer from the Professional Association of Ophthalmologists Germany gives advice on what to look out for when psoriasis patients also suffer from dry eyes or uveitis, an inflammation inside the eye.

Psoriasis, which affects around two million people in Germany, is generally considered a skin disease. The patients suffer from scaly and itchy inflammation. The immune system recognizes the body's own tissue as foreign and attacks it. The disease is not contagious and is mainly hereditary. But many do not know that it is not only the skin that can become inflamed with psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis are more likely than healthy people to develop dry eyes or uveitis. "Particularly in so-called psoriatic arthritis, in which both the skin and the joints are affected, the eyes are often also involved," says Prof. Pleyer.

All regions from the eyelid and conjunctiva to the inside of the eye can be affected.

Dry eye

Tired eyes and a foreign body sensation like grains of sand rubbing on the surface of the eye are symptoms of dry eye or sicca syndrome. "The dry eye should not be left untreated," advises Prof. Pleyer especially for psoriasis patients. An intact tear film is important to protect the cornea of ​​the eye and to supply it with nutrients and to ward off infectious agents. Depending on the severity of the dry eye, tear substitutes are available in the form of eye drops, gels or ointments. In very severe cases with inflammation of the surface of the eye, eye drops containing the active ingredient cyclosporin A can help. Dry eye can also occur together with inflammation of the outer or inner lid leaf and lead to chronic blepharitis. A long-term treatment, supported by consistent eyelid hygiene, helps here.

Threat to eyesight: uveitis

Ophthalmologists speak of uveitis when tissue inside the eye is inflamed. In Germany, it is the second most common cause of blindness in people of working age. The uvea is the vascular skin of the eye and includes the iris, the radiating body (ciliary body) and the choroid (choroid). The eye is one of the body's organs with the best blood supply, so it is often affected by systemic diseases as well. Red eyes, painful sensitivity to light, and blurred vision can all indicate uveitis. The eye inflammation is often insidious so that the patient does not notice the changes immediately. If left untreated, however, there is a risk of serious damage to eyesight, including complete loss of sight. Psoriasis patients have an approximately three to four times higher risk of uveitis. Various medications are available for the treatment of uveitis, for example eye pots containing cortisone or active substances that intervene in the immune system. Eye surgery can also be necessary. "If uveitis occurs together with psoriasis, coordination with the treating dermatologist is of particular importance," emphasizes Prof. Pleyer. "Because some drugs that the dermatologist can prescribe for the treatment of psoriasis have a very good effect on the course of uveitis. They help to avoid or reduce cortisone. Eye involvement can influence the treatment of the individual patient and should be interdisciplinary be made. "

If in doubt, go to the ophthalmologist quickly

Prof. Pleyer recommends: "If a patient with psoriasis notices even slight problems with their eyes, they shouldn't hesitate to go to an ophthalmologist's practice." In principle, eye redness that does not go away on its own within 48 hours should be examined by an ophthalmologist. Because a red eye can have many different causes, from harmless conjunctivitis to threatening uveitis.

Source and contact address:
Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA)
Press office
Tersteegenstrasse 12, 40474 Düsseldorf
Telephone: (0211) 4303700, Fax: (0211) 4303720
Email: [email protected]

(dvf, dw)

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