Healthy Living

Fibromyalgia's Deep Connection to Vision Problems

According to studies, fibromyalgia could be a direct cause of vision problems

Though this symptoms is not well-known, there have been several studies that identify fibromyalgia as a contributor, and even a direct cause, of vision problems.  This research also provides the necessary stepping stones for improved and more concentrated vision screening and eye treatment for fibromyalgia patients.

In one study, two groups of patients, one with fibromyalgia and the other without, were observed for thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer using optical coherence tomography. In fact, two different Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) devices were utilized to measure visual perception in both sets of subjects, and the group of fibro patients also answer questionnaires that asked about the duration and severity of the disease, along with its impact on their quality of life. This was done to compare the correlations between the results of the vision screenings and the progression of the disease, as well as to the results of both the fibromyalgia and control group.

The analysis showed a significant amount of thinning of the RNFL in the group of fibro patients, even with patients who were just in the beginning phases of fibromyalgia. RNFL is the retinal nerve fiber layer that is developed as a result of the fibers in the optic nerve, and it is the thickest layer in the eye. For patients who experienced the more severe effects of fibromyalgia, researchers found that their membrane was significantly damaged.

These results showed that fibromyalgia directly causes damage to the RNFL, but researchers concluded that this damage can be detected with noninvasive OCT devices, even in the early stages of the disease. If doctors and patients find this issue early, then they could prepare and anticipate any further complications.