Along with the myriad other symptoms normally associated with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a person may also experience vision problems. The same eye sight difficulties arise for those with FMS, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and chronic myofascial pain (CMP).
The myofascial trigger points, which are not the same as the tender points that are the trademark of FMS, can cause optical symptoms for fibro sufferers. Since fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder, the symptoms tend to be amplified when there are co-existing conditions – such as CFS/FMS or CMP/FMS. Often, the syndromes are found together, which just compounds the issues.
Out of Balance
One result of the compounding of syndromes is when something like light, which normally is a stimulus that does not cause pain, evokes pain. The cause may be found in the imbalance that often happens with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal gland axis in people with fibromyalgia syndrome.
There is a connection between the hypothalamus and light sensitivity and that could well be the reason why fibro sufferers struggle with night driving. Headlights coming at them can cause pain or distraction. Since the pupils are controlled by neurotransmitters, beta-carotene seems to be helpful in dealing with this symptom.
The Sterno-What Muscle?
Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) trigger points can cause redness and cause the eyes to tear. The SCM is a muscle that runs from the base of the skull to the clavicle on both sides of the neck. This is the muscle that is responsible for flexing and rotating the head.
When there are trigger points on the SCM it affects the eyes. Along with redness and tearing, which can be dealt with using artificial tears, the myofascial trigger points in the SCM can also create sensitivity to patterns of light, from checks and stripes to shadows on the road.
Sometimes a person can become dizzy just by looking at the patterns. The same thing can happen on an escalator, watching a conveyor belt or luggage carousel at the airport. People have been known to fall from dizziness at the visual impact of patterns.
Trigger points on the SCM
There are many symptoms associated with trigger points on the SCM (sternocleidomastoid), some associated with sight. Of the symptoms associated with sight, the following are often found to plague a person with FMS:
· tearing eyes
· blurred or double vision
· inability to raise the upper eyelid
· dimming of perceived light intensity
Double-vision, blurry vision or changing vision can result from trigger points in any of the muscles that hold the eyeballs in place. Trigger points cause the muscles to contract, and if the muscles contract asymmetrically, that is unevenly, then sight abnormalities result.
Often, eye exercises are useful in correcting problems in situations such as this. However, overdoing it will only cause more problems, so it is important to start slowly and gently and do the exercises only once per day.
Repetitive exercising will cause a worsening of the trigger points, since the muscles are already contracted.
Those who live with fibromyalgia syndrome may find their vision is blurred often. If there are no trigger point issues, then it is possible the cause is due to the rapid change that occurs in the ability to focus.
A person may get a pair of eyeglasses to correct vision only to find the glasses are useless by the time the prescription is filled. The reason for this is that the muscle strength that allows the lens of the eye to focus, fluid in the eyes, and the lens of the eye are all affected by the thyroid and adrenal glands. As these glands fluctuate with blood sugar levels, eyesight is affected.
Dirt in the Eyes
Another common problem is “floaters”; a condition in which the lens of the eye magnifies small blood cells and it looks like debris is floating around in the eyeball, as seen from within the eye. They are generally harmless, albeit irritating.
To learn more about eye sight symptoms and treatment options, see our article on the subject in this section.