Rheumatoid arthritis affecting my eyes

Meli Member Posts: 11
edited 6. Oct 2021, 11:53 in Living with arthritis

Hi, just wondering if anyone else has experience of dry eyes as one of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed with RA a few months ago. I only have to look at my phone screen for a short while and I can tell. I wake up in the night to use the bathroom and my eyes feel gritty. I use an eye mask which I put in microwave to heat up as sometimes my eyes can ache. Tried various lubricating eye drops that give relief when I first put them in but it doesn't seem to last long. Can't wear my contact lenses anymore. Also I'm round the age of the menopause which I know doesn't help . Can anyone recommend any good long lasting eye drops?


Meli x


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    R.A. can, indeed, affect the eyes and this is something that requires your rheumatologist not just eye drops. Your meds might need tweaking a bit. Ring your rheumatology heline for advice.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Meli
    Meli Member Posts: 11

    Hi, thanks for your reply, I did mention it to my rheumatologist and she just said to get some dry eye drops. My Dr won't even let me have any on prescription. She said that they are not allowed to give over the counter items on prescription so I am having to buy them every fortnight and I am entitled to free prescriptions.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    If your rheumatologist is aware of the problem and happy for you to use eye drops then I suggest you ask your local pharmacist for a suitable type. Your GP is right. They are not supposed to prescribe OTC meds. See here https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/why-cant-i-get-prescription-over-counter-medicine/

    if drops don't help perhaps make an optician's appointment to check that there is no actual damage.. Best to limit your screen time as that's not great for eyes.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Kitty
    Kitty Member Posts: 3,583

    Many people with RA (myself included) find themselves blessed? With a secondary condition, Sjogren’s Syndrome (pronounced Shergren’s) your rheumatologist should aware of this and advise you accordingly. Versus Arthritis has some excellent information about SS and so does BSSA (British Sjogren’s Society), All the best.

    "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." Robert A Heinlein

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548

    Just leaving a link to our information on Sjogren’s Syndrome for @kathleenT :

  • Roxanne
    Roxanne Member Posts: 4

    I have this and have Salivix on prescription which helps with a dry mouth.

  • Hi I have dry eyes to feels gritty, I now eye drops witch really help.

  • Dennison72
    Dennison72 Member Posts: 14

    @Meli Hello, yes I too have recently been diagnosed with RA. My eyes are extremely dry and feel like something is in them all the time. I currently use dry eye drops and a heat mask on my eyes which does help, but it definitely is a pain. I currently take Methotrexate and Hydroxychloroquine, currently on about week 6...some days are good and some days are bad... I'm finding a lot of support through this group, as so much is relevant to me. I hope we can help you too 🫶

  • Bets
    Bets Member Posts: 2


    Any one have any side effects from Hydroxychloroquine I am about to start it soon.

    I am newly diagnosed with RA and had a mythopredisilone injection 2 weeks ago.