Adults with AD at greater risk for eye disease

doctor examining eyes of patient

By National Eczema Association

Published On: Nov 6, 2017

Last Updated On: Jul 15, 2021

Eczema and eye health

If the changing of the seasons irritates your eyes, you’re not alone. One of the common comorbidities – or related health conditions – of atopic dermatitis (AD) is allergic rhinitis or hay fever, which counts red, swollen, itchy eyes among its many symptoms.

But not all eye problems should be chalked up to seasonal allergies when you’re living with eczema. New research suggests people with AD have a higher risk of developing eye diseases such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and keratoconus (conical cornea).

Researchers examined 10,038 Danish adults who were 18 years or older and living with AD. Out of the 10,038 study participants, 5,766 adults had a mild form of the disease and 4,272 had severe symptoms.

The study concluded that individuals with AD were at a higher risk of developing eye disease compared to the general population. Those with severe AD were at an even higher risk of developing eye disease than those living with mild AD.

Results from the study, led by Jacob P. Thyssen of Denmark’s Copenhagen University Hospital Department of Dermatology and Allergology, were published in the August 2017 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

4 tips for healthier eyes

  1. Schedule an annual optometrist appointment. Even if you have 20/20 vision, it’s important to get dilated eye exams to check for early signs of common eye diseases such as glaucoma.
  2. Eat right to protect your sight. For healthy peepers, consume carrots and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale—as well foods rich in omega-3 such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
  3. Wear protective eye gear. Look for sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Protective eyewear also includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards specially designed to protect your eyes during a certain activity.
  4. Eyes need rest too! Your eyes can get fatigued if you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing without blinking. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Source: National Institutes of Health Eye Institute

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