Link Discovered Between Fibromyalgia and Dry Eye

Dry eye can result from many causes, including underlying conditions such as Stevens Johnson syndrome, Graft vs. Host disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, and others. Whatever the cause, the symptoms are the same and can occur to a degree that makes life unbearable. The pain, light sensitivity, and loss of visual acuity that result from dry eye can prevent sufferers from engaging in activities of daily living such as reading, driving, or even working. New research has identified another condition associated with dry eye:  fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that affects an estimated 10 million Americans. It is characterized by chronic, widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and often psychological distress. For those with severe symptoms, the syndrome can be debilitating. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, treatment for this syndrome can include pain management, sleep management, psychological support, and lifestyle changes to help relieve the symptoms and improve quality of life.

It is not unusual for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to occur in conjunction with another illness as well. Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus may be diagnosed in addition to fibromyalgia. These autoimmune diseases can also contribute to dry eye symptoms. Whether fibromyalgia is identified as a primary or secondary illness, symptoms of multiple conditions may overlap making diagnosis challenging.

Recent research findings have suggested that individuals with fibromyalgia may be more likely to experience dry eye symptoms. Researchers from the Boston Ocular Surface Center evaluated the eyes of patients with fibromyalgia to identify whether there was a correlation between this syndrome and dry eye. Their findings revealed that the majority of these patients experience moderate dry eye symptoms. Furthermore, the study looked at functional and emotional status of the study subjects. The results revealed that the degree of dry eye severity in these patients with fibromyalgia had a significantly negative impact on overall quality of life as well as emotional well-being.

Increased awareness of the association between fibromyalgia and dry eye can contribute to improved patient outcomes. Based on these new research results, it is recommended that patients who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia be assessed for dry eye. Early treatment can result in better management of dry eye and help prevent lasting complications. In addition, effective dry eye treatment can contribute to improved quality of life and emotional status for these patients.

Here at BFS, BostonSight® PROSE treatment has helped many patients overcome the symptoms of dry eye and restore eye comfort and visual acuity to allow them to get back to everyday life without pain and return to doing what they love most. BFS survey results showed that 77% of patients with dry eye reported significant success with BostonSight PROSE and 93% reported moderate or significant success.