As if having Crohn’s isn’t miserable enough. It can also affect your eyes. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, conditions that are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a broad term that describes these conditions. Extra intestinal manifestations of IBD may affect other organs and tissues, including the eyes, skin and joints. In some instances these manifestations are the chief complaint that prompt a patient to seek medical attention.
IBD’s like Crohn’s are typically considered a digestive condition. However, up to ten percent of people with Crohn’s also experience inflammation in one or both eyes.
There are four main conditions related to Crohn’s that can affect the eyes:
- Episcleritis-refers to inflammation of the Episclera, which is a clear layer on top of the white part of the eye.
- Uveitis-An inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
- Keratopathy-a disorder of the outer lens-The Cornea
- Dry eye-Occurs when tears aren’t able to provide adequate moisture to the eye.
In rare cases there may also be inflammation in other parts of the eye, including the retina and optic nerve.