Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lyme Disease and Vision Changes

In recent years the incidence of Lyme Disease has more than doubled in the Potomac area. After a mild winter and a wet spring the deer ticks were predicted to be plentiful in summer 2011. Symptoms of Lyme Disease peak from July to September. Most people know that a Bull’s Eye rash is highly suspicious for Lyme Disease but not everyone exposed to Lyme disease exhibits a rash and some mild rashes go unnoticed.  Early on the symptoms of Lyme Disease are flu like. If the disease is not detected and treated thoroughly at this stage chronic Lyme symptoms develop. Lyme Disease is one of the great masqueraders, it can mimic the symptoms of 350 different diseases.

Although commonly associated with joint pain and fatigue chronic Lyme Disease can affect any of the body systems. When Lyme Disease affects the central nervous system intracranial pressure can become elevated causing swelling of the optic nerve and compression of one of the cranial nerves (Abducens) responsible for movement of the eyes. Twice in the last few years we have had patients come to the office in the month of July with these symptoms. After referral for appropriate testing both had confirmed diagnosis and were treated for central nervous system Lyme.  When dealing with unusual or mysterious symptoms Lyme Disease always needs to be on the list of differential diagnoses.