Vision Problems in CFS and Fibromyalgia

Published: August 9, 2012

Vision problems are a common issue in both the general population and those with CFS/FMS.

In CFS/FMS, it usually reflects as blurred vision caused by rapidly changing visual acuity (ability to focus). People often note that they get an eyeglass prescription, only to have it no longer be accurate by the time they get their glasses made. This occurs because the fluid in your eyes and the lens in your eye, and the strength of the muscles which allow the lens and pupils to focus can change minute to minute as your thyroid and adrenal (and associated blood sugar) levels fluctuate. In fact, some doctors use the inability of your pupil to stay consistently constricted when a light is shined on your eyes as a measure of adrenal weakness. This is why in my book From Fatigued to Fantastic!, I recommend holding off on getting new glasses until ~ 2-3 months into therapy (especially with thyroid and adrenal support), at which time your vision will usually stabilize.

Another common problem is the gradual increase in "floaters" that one sees. These are common even in those without CFS, as the lens of the eye magnifies debris-like small blood cells. Unless there is a rapid "shower" of these going across your vision (in which case you should see the eye doctor immediately to look for a retinal tear), these "floaters" are generally benign and can be ignored. In CFS/FMS, people sometimes see strands that look like fungi, and which often resolve with the antifungal Diflucan (see Candida — Eliminating Yeast/Fungal Overgrowth). They are also not dangerous, but can be a marker of recurrent yeast issues.

Another major problem is difficulty with dry eyes and dry mouth (called "sicca syndrome"). This usually improves by avoiding medications (such as Elavil) which aggravate the problem, and taking fish oil and a good multivitamin powder. Give these 6 weeks to work. In addition, for contact lens and dry eye induced irritation, using special eye drops containing vitamin A (a good example is Viva Eye drops) can be very helpful over time. Opthalmologists have reported that using testosterone cream on the upper eyelids can also help in severe cases of dry eyes.

For those without CFS, other major eye problems include:

  1. Cataracts
  2. Glaucoma
  3. Macular degeneration. In addition, it is estimated that 300,000 cases of macular degeneration (35% of cases), a leading cause of blindness, could be prevented simply by supplementation with antioxidants and zinc!
  4. Floaters


Article at MedScape (free registration required).

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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