Arthritis affects around 10 million people, young and old, in the UK, but currently there’s no cure.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and the most common symptoms include inflammation in and around the joints, warm, red skin over the affected joint, and weakness and muscle wasting.
As well as problems affecting the joints, some people experience a range of more general symptoms, including poor appetite.
And in more rare circumstances, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause problems in other areas of the body, such as the eyes.
The NHS lists more additional symptoms of arthritis after joint pain:
- Tiredness and a lack of energy
- A high temperature (fever)
- A poor appetite
- Weight loss
But the health body adds that the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can also sometimes cause problems affecting other areas of the body, such as the eyes.
The Arthritis Foundation lists other ways arthritis can affect your eyes.
Speaking to the nonprofit organisation, Sunir J. Garg said: “The eye is like a microcosm of the entire body within a small little ball.
“Any inflammatory condition that affects collagen – the main component of connective tissue – such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the sclera (the white of the eye) and the cornea (the lens cap), which are basically entirely collagen.”
One of the conditions rheumatoid arthritis can cause is keratitis sicca, also known as dry eye syndrome.
With dry eye syndrome, the eye is unable to maintain a healthy film of tears.
This film not only lubricates the eye, it also protects the eye from foreign particles and is necessary for good vision.
Careen Lowder, an ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic, said: “Dry eye syndrome is the most common ophthalmic manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis.”
Other conditions include scleritis, which causes the eye wall (the sclera) or the cornea to become thing, and uveitis, which is inflammation of the urea, the vascular layer of the eye that is found between the retina and the sclera.
Research from Germany suggests that eating a bowl of muesli every morning can make bones stronger and could help prevent certain types of chronic inflammatory arthritis later in life.