Crohn’s disease symptoms and complications related to the eye

Other than the gastrointestinal tract, Crohn’s disease also affects other organs of the body, one such organ is the eye. It may affect various parts of the eye and these should be quickly diagnosed and treated by the ophthalmologist before there is any potential loss of vision. The Crones is an inflammatory bowel disorder and so many complicated eye symptoms arise due to inflammatory lesions. Eye inflammation symptoms are considered to be initial indications of Crohn’s disease. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America ten in every hundred patients diagnosed with Crones show eye problem. If the Crohn’s patient suffering from eye inflammation does not undergo immediate treatment it may result in permanent loss of vision.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca:

It is the term used to describe dryness of the eye. Crohn’s disease symptoms of this disorder include itchy feeling, burning feeling and gritty sensation of the eye. Crohn’s patients suffer from chronic diarrhea and this causes malabsorption (problem in absorbing nutrients from digested food) and excessive loss of vitamin A and hence deficiency of vitamin A results in dry eye.


Episcleritis is inflammatory disorder that affects the tissue, that lies over the outer layer of sclera (white region of eye), called the episclera. Episcleritis usually goes away when the Crones is under control. Symptoms include redness of eye due to swelling of blood vessels in episclera; formation of nodules (lumps or raised areas) on episclera; pain; irritation; burning sensation; tearing; and eyes become sensitive to light. If the condition is not treated then it may progress to other types of eye disorders like scleritis and iritis and eventually cause loss in vision.


This is an inflammatory disorder of the sclera (white region of eye) and is a quite common eye condition. Scleritis can affect the front (anterior) part of  eyeball which is termed as anterior scleritis, or it can affect back (posterior) part of eyeball which is termed as posterior scleritis. Usually anterior scleritis occurs more than posterior scleritis. Symptoms include redness of eye; blurred vision, light sensitivity (photophobia); pain usually occurs during eye movement; pain in eyebrow, temple and jaw; tearing; headache; fever; and vomiting.


This Crohn’s disease symptom of the eye involves inflammation of the coloured part of the eye (iris). Crohn’s disease symptoms of this disorder are redness, watering of the eye, pain, burning sensation, blurred vision, eyes become sensitive towards light and appearance of strings or spots in vision line.


It is a Crohn’s disease complication related to eye and results in formation of white spots at the edge of the cornea (transparent, dome-shaped portion that forms a cover over the front of eyeball).

Retinal detachment:

In rare cases this eye disorder occurs where the retina (layer containing light-sensitive cells covering the back region of eye) becomes detached from the back wall of eye. If this disorder is not treated quickly the disease can progress and eventually cause loss of vision.


Another known Crohn’s disease symptom and complication of the eye is uveitis that occurs due to inflammation of uvea (middle portion of eye). Crohn’s disease symptoms of uveitis involves pain, redness, light sensitivity, blurred vision and glaucoma (increase in eye pressure that can result in damage of optical nerve.

In all of the disorders mentioned above chances of one eye or both the eyes getting infected are usually equal. Normally as a rule Crohn’s disease symptoms and complications related to the eye goes away if proper treatment is undertaken promptly and also during remission (inactive stage of disease after a chronic stage) of the disease. Eye inflammatory problems associated with Crohn’s disease should not be ignored because a delay in treatment can progress to a permanent loss in vision.