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Floaters And Dry Eyes
I also asked Dr. Padula about something I hear Lyme patients complain about a lotfloaters and dry eyes. He said this often results from a change in tear film. We have three different layers of tear film in our eyeswater, oily, and mucus. When these protective layers are damaged, floaters and dry eye can result.
He finds that additive-free eye drops and supplementation with bioflavonoids, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium can help.
In the following YouTube video, Dr. Padula and an associate explain more about how Lyme disease can affect your vision.
Touched By Lyme: Rehabilitating Your Lyme
Dr. William V. Padula is a pioneer in the field of how Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can affect your vision. Hes worked with patients from all over the world. Many of them had no idea that Lyme and TBDs were at the root of their deteriorating eyesight.
Though treating the underlying infections is necessary, he says such treatment alone may not be enough to resolve vision problems. Instead, he finds that many patients need various kinds of visual rehabilitation, as well.
In a recent Zoom conversation, he explained to me that among other things, Lyme disease can cause spatial-visual processing dysfunction. This isnt a defect of the eye itself. Rather, the issue is that the brain has trouble processing the signals the eyes send to it. Its a neurological impairment.
Spatial-visual processing dysfunction can result in eyestrain, headaches, light sensitivity, and double vision. Also, people who have a compromised spatial-visual process can have difficulty in crowded, moving environments, he says.
As a result, people with this disorder may feel overwhelmed by seeing anything moving in their peripheral vision. Much like people who have suffered concussions, Dr. Padula says, many folks with Lyme find they must strictly avoid busy supermarkets and other congested places.
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Optic Neuritis And Multiple Sclerosis
Optic neuritis can be the first symptom of multiple sclerosis , but this is only true for some people. Not everyone with optic neuritis will develop MS. There are many people who only have one attack of optic neuritis and do not develop any neurological problems.An MRI scan can assess your risk of developing MS. If there are small spots on the brain scan, your risk of developing MS is higher. It is estimated that the risk of people who have optic neuritis developing MS within 10 years is 30 to 60 per cent, depending on whether these spots are seen on the MRI scan.Optic nerve fibres are wrapped in myelin sheaths that help to conduct nervous system messages. With MS, the myelin sheaths become inflamed, causing plaques or lesions to appear. Vision problems are a common first symptom of MS. However, optic neuritis doesnt mean that developing MS is inevitable.
Did You Know That Lyme Disease Can Affect Your Eyes
May 16, 2022 By Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center
Lyme disease is a tick borne infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi . It is well known that Bb can disseminate from a tick bite throughout the body to the joints, heart, and nervous system. Less well known, is the impact that Lyme disease can have on the eyes.
Research at our Center has identified impairments in eye functioning and eye inflammation in patients with Lyme disease:
- Visual contrast sensitivity impairment occurs in post treatment Lyme disease patients and is linked to signs of cognitive and neurologic impairment and may be a marker of illness severity.
- Horner Syndrome with Negative Serology is an unusual presentation of Lyme disease.
- Lyme disease can also be an uncommon cause of Scleritis in endemic areas.
Potential eye or neuro-ophthalmologic symptoms that could be associated with Lyme disease include:
- Cranial nerve damage resulting in double vision
- Optic nerve inflammation
- being very sensitive to bright light
- having blurry vision
- seeing eye floaters
- redness and swelling of the white part of the eye
- blurred vision
Read Also: Dr Nader Soliman Lyme Disease
Diagnosis Of Optic Neuritis
Optic neuritis can be mistaken for a number of other eye conditions such as ischaemic optic neuropathy, so careful diagnosis is important. Tests may include:
- eye examination
- colour vision tests
- peripheral vision tests to test visual field
- MRI scan this scan is helpful to diagnose the condition and also to give information that will be able to assess the risk of the person developing MS.
Ocular Symptoms And Conditions: Medical Conditions That Can Cause Eye Problems
This page discusses a selection of medical disorders which are known to lead to a variety of eye problems. Links to other pages discussing medical conditions causing eye problems are provided as well. There are many medical disorders where eye complications are found as part of a larger symptom complex. In some cases, several different parts of the eye, orbit, or visual system can be affected by the condition, which is why they are discussed on this page rather than on a specific symptom category page.
One example is thyroid related ocular problems, which is discussed on the Double Vision page. This condition not only causes double vision due to eye muscle involvement, but also can cause dry eye problems, eyelid problems, and potential loss of vision. Since the eye muscle problems are relatively common with thyroid dysfunction, it is discussed on that page.
In some cases, a medical physician may request an eye examination to determine if the eyes are being affected by the medical condition. There are numerous conditions which potentially have eye complications, and only a few are discussed here.
This page is divided into a group of medical disorders which also can affect the eyes. The next section discusses other medical disorders discussed elsewhere that have ocular complications.
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Lyme Disease Causes Double Vision: Case Report
The Lyme spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi can invade the central nervous system causing neuroborreliosis. The most common symptoms include headaches, neck stiffness, facial palsy, and peripheral neuropathy. But the disease can, on rare occasions, also cause eye-related problems. We present a case of neuroborreliosis manifesting with diplopia , Dixit and colleagues write.
In their report, the authors describe a 69-year-old man who was admitted to the emergency room in New York City complaining of a headache and double vision.
Case report describes a man who developed headaches and double vision caused by Lyme disease.
One month earlier, the man had been hiking in a rural area of New York. He did not notice a tick bite or rash. Two weeks later, he developed a headache, which localized to the right occipital region, and gradually moved to his right orbit, states Dixit.
Five days later, he had double vision when opening both eyes however, if he covered his right eye his vision normalized. Although Lyme is known to affect the neurological system it usually does not manifest in the extraocular muscles, the authors state.
In another study, Sathiamoorthi from the Mayo Clinic points out that Although ocular involvement can be self-limited, delays in diagnosis may result in vision impairment and even blindness.
19 Replies to “Lyme disease causes double vision: case report”
Conditions Discussed On This Page:
Cicatricial Pemphigoid is a relatively rare chronic inflammatory disease mainly affecting mucous membranes, such as the conjunctiva and inside of the mouth. Sometimes the throat, esophagus, and other areas are affected as well. In 25% of cases, the skin itself is involved. Patients most commonly affected are females under the age of 60.
When the eyes are involved , the condition usually begins as a chronic conjunctivitis, followed by scarring of the conjunctiva. One, or more commonly both, eyes can be affected. Over time, this leads to bands of scar tissue connecting the surface of the eye to the inside of the eyelid , with a loss of the space between the eyelid and the eye . This can lead to inturning of the eyelid , and inturning of eyelashes which can scratch the eye. The scarring of the conjunctiva can lead to a loss of mucous secreting cells which help to lubricate the eye, as well as closure of tear glands . This leads to drying of the corneal and ocular surface, which potentially can cause symptoms of dry eye , as well as more severe corneal ulceration, scarring, and neovascularization . Blindness from these problems occurs in 25% to 33% of patients with the disorder. Other areas of the body can be involved as well, requiring care from dermatologists, gastroenterologists, and ENT specialists. A rheumatologist or internist may coordinate treatment of the patient.
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Can Lyme Disease Affect The Eyes
Visual symptoms can be alarming to deal with for many people with Lyme disease. But are there ways to cope? Listen as Dr. Bill Rawls discusses how Lyme affects the eyes, plus shares personal insights on how herbal therapy improved his Lyme-related vision issues. Learn more about Dr. Rawls personal healing journey here.
Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, Lyme disease symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Read Also: Dr Horowitz Lyme Disease Treatment Protocol
Other Medical Conditions Causing Eye Problems Found On Other Pages:
A link to each condition is listed along with other hallmark features of the condition.
- Giant Cell Arteritis – a medical condition of the elderly associated with headache, arthritis, and visual loss.
- CVA – Cerebrovascular Accident – Stroke- a stroke involving the brain or the visual pathways from the eye to the brain can lead to blind spots in the vision.
Stage : Persistent Infection
If left untreated, several months after the onset of infection, 60% of patients develop frank arthritis. The typical pattern involves intermittent attacks of oligoarticular arthritis in large joints , lasting weeks to months in the selected joint.
If a sample is taken from the swollen joint, the usual findings are WBC counts between 500-110,000/L, consisting mainly of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Tests for rheumatoid arthritis or antinuclear antibodies are usually negative. If a synovial biopsy is taken the typical findings are fibrin deposits, villous hypertrophy, vascular proliferation, microangiopathic lesions, and a heavy infiltration of lymphocytes and plasma cells.
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Treating Vision Problems Caused By Lyme Disease With Antibiotics And Steroids
I have used steroids in Lyme patients, but only in very selected circumstances. In patients who have presented with eye involvement with rapidly deteriorating vision, such as optic neuritis or uveitis, the combination of high dose steroids appears to restore vision more rapidly than by using antibiotics alone. I have also used steroids in combination with antibiotics in patients who presented with a Lyme induced polymyalgia rheumatica . PMR is a common disease of elderly people characterized by pain and stiffness in the muscles of the upper arms and legs, fevers, malaise and weight loss. The ESR, sedimentation rate is elevated. In its classic form, the cause of the condition is unknown, and thedramatic response to steroids is in itself diagnostic. I have personally seen three cases of Lyme induced PMR, which did not respond to steroids alone or antibiotics alone, yet when the combination was given the response was dramatic.
In conclusion, the decision to use the steroids in a Lyme patient must be given considerable thought and the possiblebenefits must be weighed against the risks. I would not use steroids unless the patient was also on antibiotics.
Light Sensitivity In Lyme Disease
Statistically speaking, light sensitivity can be rare in the early stages of Lyme disease, affecting between 5-16% of patients however, the total impact of this painful symptom may be significantly underreported.1 In fact, some researchers have acknowledged that as many as 70% of lyme patients report photophobia. The cause of light sensitivity in Lyme disease is not fully understood, however it may be related to meningitis symptoms that manifest in the early stages and/or as a result of altered brain function stemming from encephalopathy.3,5
In addition, many patients have reported that they must endure varying symptoms of light sensitivity beyond their inability to tolerate bright lighting. This can include seeing halos, shadows and episodes of fragmented vision. There is also particular agitation around fluorescent lights, which might lead to dizziness and even feelings of anxiety.6 In addition, Lyme patients also must deal with a variety of other issues that can separately compound the risk for developing light sensitivity, which makes diagnosing the exact cause even more difficult. They include:
- Chronic headaches
- Eye conditions and symptoms
- Lyme meningitis
What is worse is that many acknowledge that their sensitivity to light is severe, even incapacitating. And although it can resolve itself within a few weeks or months, it can also worsen over timeparticularly if it is not addressed. Take this anecdote from an online Lyme forum:
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William V Padula Od Sfnap Faao Fnora Guest Blog
May Awareness LDA Guest Blogger
William V. Padula, OD is Director of the Padula Institute of Vision Rehabilitation in Guilford, CT. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the Founding President of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association . Dr. Padula is on the faculty for Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry and Salus University of Health Sciences College of Optometry.
Dr. Padula has conducted research discovering Post Trauma Vision Syndrome and Visual Midline Shift Syndrome . Dr. Padula has written numerous publications including a book titled: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Neuro Visual Processing: An Integrated Model of Rehabilitation. He is the primary author of a chapter on vision in Brain Injury Medicine: Principles and Practice. He has also been awarded six U.S. Patents.
What Is Lyme Disease
Each year an estimated 300,000 people are infected with Lyme disease. Youre more likely to get Lyme disease if you spend time in grassy or wooded areas. The infection is spread through a bite from a deer tick. A characteristic bulls-eye rash is an early sign. Other symptoms at the early stages include:
- Cognitive difficulties
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What Is The Treatment
In early stages of lyme disease, when the rash is apparent, the bacterial infection is treated successfully with oral antibiotics. These include doxycycline or tetracycline.
In late stages, when eye disease, arthritis or neurologic disease is present, therapy consists of intravenous antibiotics . However, in late stages antibiotics may be effective only to a certain extent or may even fail to work. In these cases, neurologic damage may progress or blindness may result.
Although much is now known about lyme disease, better ways to diagnose and treat it are still needed. Early recognition of the symptoms is important in avoiding severe medical problems later.
Lyme disease can be prevented. If you are in an area where ticks live, avoid wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts cover as much of your skin as possible. Use an insect repellent on your hands and face. If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, watch out for signs of lyme disease. Immediately seek medical attention after a tick bite of if you develop a spreading rash.
Eye Facts is an informational series and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. For eye appointments, call 996-6591. All Eye Facts illustrations and images are copyright protected and are the property of the UIC Board of Trustees. Unauthorized use of the images is prohibited. For usage of any Eye Facts content or illustrations please contact the Office of Medical Illustration at or 312-996-5309 for licensing.
Blog: Dealing With The Visual Consequences Of Lyme Disease
We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact .William V. Padula William V. Padula, OD, SFNAP, FAAO, FNORA
The CDC estimates that more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease occur every year in the U.S. and that number is likely understated.
According to a recently released analysis from Quest Diagnostics, Lyme disease can be found in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Lyme disease is the best known of more than a dozen tickborne illnesses in which tiny bacteria called spirochetes are injected into the body with the tick saliva. If not treated, these spirochetes multiply and spread, eventually reaching the brain, where they can cause a range of neurological effects.
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, in part because it is a great mimicker of other conditions. Additionally, many people never realize theyve been bitten by a tick unless they see the bulls eye rash that is characteristic of Lyme. Blood tests for Lyme often produce a false negative result, because the spirochetes spend much of their time dormant in tissue, only prompting the immune system to produce detectable antibodies when they enter the bloodstream.
Visual system damage
Three tips to help your patients
Recognize that Lyme disease could be the underlying cause of sudden-onset visual processing problems such as double vision, convergence insufficiency or tracking issues.
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