Many people are aware that celiac disease is a disorder of the autoimmune system that results in abdominal problems when the person eats gluten. However, what many people aren't aware of is that celiac disease can also cause problems throughout the body, including vision problems. If you've been newly diagnosed with celiac disease, your physician may refer you to an ophthalmologist at some point, if they haven't referred you already. Here's what celiac disease can do to your vision and what preventive measures you can take.
Celiac disease & malabsorption
When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, even just a teeny amount of it, their immune system attacks the small intestine's lining when the gluten reaches it. The small intestine is where most of the body's digestion occurs. When the lining of the small intestine is attacked, it's no longer able to absorb enough minerals and nutrients from the foods it digests, which leads to significant deficiencies in the minerals and nutrients that are vital to the functioning of the human body, including in the eyes.
Various eye and vision problems
Due to the malabsorption of important nutrients and vitamins, a number of things can happen to the eyes and vision, some far more problematic and concerning that others. Dry eye is a common complaint for those who have celiac disease. Vision disturbances can include a reduction in the field of vision, night blindness, and loss of acuity. Sometimes, uncontrolled celiac disease can lead to electrographic abnormalities that can result in fixation off sensitivity, which is found in conditions such as occipital lobe seizures.
Establish a baseline
Even with a diagnosis of celiac disease, it's still a good idea to rule out other possible causes of the various eye and vision problems that can be found comorbidly with celiac disease, just in case you are one of the rarer people who have other another condition. Therefore, your ophthalmologist may run more tests to determine whether or not there's another underlying cause of any eye and vision problems you experience. Most importantly, however, it's a good idea to get an examination and testings now to have a baseline to refer back to in the future, just in case you do start having eye and vision problems.
In conclusion, the best thing to do is to avoid gluten altogether so your small intestine is not attacked by your immune system. Always read labels and consult with your ophthalmologist anytime you have eye or vision changes.