As an Optometrist, I get to evaluate and treat people with all kinds of conditions. People most frequently ask why my office checks blood pressure when we do their eye examinations. The answer is always because the eyes are affected by things going on in other parts of the body, and uncontrolled hypertension can lead to blindness and other vision complications.
I was examining a patient recently who has Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Because she has endured several years of ocular distress, she asked that I write an article specifically about this condition to help inform the public about why eye care is such an important factor.
Firstly, Stevens Johnson syndrome is an immune-complex hypersensitivity (allergic) condition that involves the skin and the mucous membranes. There are different classifications of this condition which varies from minor to severe toxic skin necrolysis. The symptoms can include a thick mucous-producing cough, headaches, a general feeling of tiredness/weakness, rashes on the skin that can result in burning, swelling, or blistering of the skin, and arthralgia (joint pain that can result from an allergic reaction to medications). In the eyes, the eyelids and other external tissue of the eyes can be affected. The eyelashes may turn inward and touch the eyes causing irritation, the eyes can become persistently red from the glands poorly functioning along the eyelids, and bacterial eyelid infections can occur resulting in corneal damage and blurred vision.
Diagnosing this condition involves the primary care doctor, a dermatologist, an eye care specialist, and other specialists depending on the patient’s symptoms.
Because Stevens Johnson syndrome involves allergic reactions, doctors have to be careful to treat patients with certain medications as other symptoms may increase. The treatment for the ocular conditions can be long-term and ongoing. In some cases, preservative-free lubrication may be sufficient, but if the inflammation is severe, antibiotic eye drops and or steroids may be needed.
If you are in need of an eye care specialist, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care. We evaluate and treat eye conditions including those related to physical conditions like Stevens-Johnson, Hypertension, Diabetes, Arthritis, and many more.
321 W. Montgomery
(near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic)
For appointments, call
(912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com