Looking at Fibromyalgia and Eye Problems

Looking at Fibromyalgia and Eye Problems

Through the Fog
Did you know that the eye has six main muscles to control its movement? I certainly didn’t. And because fibromyalgia affects our nervous system, it stands to reason that it will affect our eyes and vision as well.

The nervous system deteriorates in FM patients, so the nerves to our eyes can deteriorate and cause problems. It’s a good idea to get your eyes checked each year. My eyesight seems to keep changing, so I need to keep updating my prescription.

Nutritional deficiencies, as well as some of the medications we take, can make our eye issues worse. Below are a few of the issues FM patients can have with our eyes:

Blurred or impaired vision: The ocular muscles that are affected by FM can cause us to experience double or blurred vision. This is especially true when I’m tired. I notice my vision is apt to get more blurry when I’m tired or looking at a screen too long, whether it’s my phone, tablet, or TV. To give my eyes a much-needed break, I listen to an audio book with my eyes closed. Blurry and double vision are common and can be linked to postural dizziness and vertigo. If I get up too fast I’ll get dizzy. I’ve had vertigo episodes off and on for more than 25 years.

Difficulties with night driving: We often have a real problem driving at night because the lights of incoming cars bothers those of us with FM more than most. I haven’t been able to drive at night for years because of that.

Dry eyes: When your eye muscles can’t function properly due to FM, dry eye sometimes is a result. I use a lubricating eye drop to deal with my dry eye. It was actually my ophthalmologist who first told me that my dry eye was related to FM. Supposedly, if you use the drops consistently it can reverse the dry eye. If you are older than 50, a menopausal woman, have a thyroid disorder (I’m hypothyroid), or have a medical condition that reduces tear production (such as Sjogren’s or Sicca syndrome), you’re much more likely to experience dry eye.

Eye pain: Lack of sleep, stress, anxiety and fatigue can exacerbate eye pain. Dry eye and cluster headaches also cause me to have eye pain.

Potential blindness: I was shocked to find the nerves that lead to the eyes can become inflamed due to our FM, and in extreme cases can cause partial or total blindness.

Light sensitivity: I know I prefer dim lighting and never turn a light on until it gets dark. Bright lights can trigger headaches for me. I never go out in the sun without sunglasses.

Shift-of-focus issues: When I’m watching TV or a movie, I have to close my eyes if a scene is panning too fast or things are spinning, as that makes me feel nauseous.

There are many more issues related to eyes and fibromyalgia. Do you experience these or other symptoms?


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Terry says:

    I have Chronic Dry Eye. It’s so hurtful and my eye Dr., put plugs in all 4 tear ducts! He put me on Restatis and that didn’t help as I was using Refresh Tears around the clock including the Restatis!
    Now he switched me to Xidra which has been wonderful and my eyes don’t hurt nearly as bad! I wash them out everyday wit Ocusoft eye towelettes and a warm washcloth. This has helped my eyes immensely.

  2. Denise Bault says:

    I have all those eye problems as well! Blurred vision, can’t drive at night, can’t stand lights unless they are dimmed, have dry eyes, have to use artificial tears, hate fluorescent lights (they give me headaches,) have to wear sunglasses EVERYWHERE I go and leave them on even indoors at restaurants or stores…it’s ridiculous!

  3. Dianne Wilber says:

    Thanks 4 this article Robin !I`ve had very dry eyes for about20 years. FM causes it we know but several of my meds do 2 . My eye doctor told me that my eyes are so dry that the drops he puts in + the drops I use many times a day hardly penetrate my eye`s surface + in fact are repelled by my eye ! At a fibromyalgia group I used 2 attend in person ,we were told that dry eyes alone can cause blindness ! I hope that`s not true .

  4. Gail Wilson Webb says:

    I was diagnosed with chronic dry eyes, too. The drops are hard for me to get in my eyes so I looked for alternatives. I found several things that work. I take hyaluronic acid capsuleso for moisture, turmeric pills for the inflammation, lutein for eye health and use an argan oil/caster oil combo on my lashes and lids for more moisture. My eyes are much better!

  5. Debbie says:

    You know how you read an article and think I’m not alone someone else actually has exactly what I have. I never associated my blurred vision with my fibromyalgia but to much screen time kills my eyes. Thank you for writing this and giving me this information

  6. Sonya says:

    I’m curious if anyone else has trouble wearing contacts? If any of the above problems trigger a headache, my eyes water and burn and itch until they literally wash out my contacts. It’s horrible. Then wearing glasses irritates my face,

    • Heather Lynn says:

      I’ve been wearing contacts for 20 yrs with no problem at all- I’d even do the worst, and sleep in them for weeks at a time (not proud of that! Lol).

      Once I was diagnosed with Fibro in 07′, I noticed the dry eyes and they would get so irritated that the contact would literally just pop out. But at the time, glasses weren’t very practical at my job. So I wore them anyways.

      2012 rolls around and I brake my RT foot. Which ended up turning into CRPS :-(.

      Ever since the CRPS diagnosis, I haven’t been able to wear my contacts for more than a couple hrs, once in a great while (if I’m lucky). They turn bright red, burn like crazy, puff up, itch like crazy to the point that they just fall right out.

      *There was a point where I was occasionally using the kind you wear for 1 day & then toss. That way, if they get to irritated while I’m out, I can just pop them out and not worry about needing to store them.
      I definitely recommend going that route for anyone who has been having these issues, but cant go “contact free”.

      Fibro (and CRPS) sucks monkey butt! But we can’t let go of hope. With all the technology and research going on, they’ll figure out how to fix us :-).

    • Carrie Miller says:

      I used wear contacts all the time. Haven’t been able to wear them for years. Just diagnosed with fibromyalgia few weeks ago, and my eye doctor automatically set appointment because I already have thin spot on back of eye that can rupture if I get hit in the face or head. But I too am sinsitive to light. I hate driving at night and avoid it as much as possible. Of late my eyes have been burning and iching as well tearing up but feels like I have sand in them. Happens mostly at night. I am also a diabetic as an afterthought.

      • Beshlie says:

        Hello Carrie. I also have fibromyalgia and type 2 diabetes and have trouble with my eyes. Mainly blurred vision and my eyes sometimes feel numb and swollen inside and feel dry. Until today I didn’t know that fibro could affect our eyes and, being in a fibro flare at the moment my eyes are terrible. I can’t find things I am looking for which is frightening and frustrating. I will be going for my diabetic eye exam soon and also an eye test. What I am frightened of is them saying I can’t drive again. I haven’t driven for a while as I don’t feel confident enough but I would like to get over that. Also, my life would be so empty if I had to give up photography, artwork and jewellery making so, at the moment I am feeling rather low about that. I have also developed cataracts though they are very small at the moment. I’m so glad I found all of you as I was feeling all alone in all this.

    • Leah says:

      I wore contacts for the better part of 25 years, but after hitting peri-menopause, my eyes started drying out terribly and I could only wear them for a few hours at a time without irritation so I switched to my glasses. Since I was diagnosed with Fibro, everything has gotten worse, making me glad I stopped wearing my contacts.

  7. Kevin Jones says:

    I have fibromyalgia and I have all of the above, especially dry eyes! I can’t use artificial tears, I have to use lubricating gel or ointment in my eyes especially at night.
    Thanks for the article Robin.

  8. Cheree50 says:

    I found this article very interesting. I’ve had FM for 23 years and it seems I’m constantly learning about new symptoms of this condition all the time! I have suffered from dry/itchy eyes for years, without ever knowing the cause??? My dry eyes don’t seem to be as bad as others that have commented, but I do use “natural tears” formula eye drops all the time. I do have problems with bright lights, and especially the “shift of focus” issues that was mentioned. I get spells of vertigo, and occasionally, I get a stabbing pain that feels like someone stabbed a needle in my eye. I am now assuming it too, is a FM symptom. Again, interesting article. Thanks for posting.

    • Lesley Boyce says:

      I’m learning lots todayI’ve gotget blurred vision changes all the time .I have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia for over 30years now plus other conditions ,but in all this me no one has ever told me fybromyalgia effects the rous system and the eyes so I’m finding his interesting but are too

    • Lesley boyce says:

      Glad you mentioned the stabbing pain in eyes I have that too as well as the dry eye issues and blurred vision .never actually been told it’s connected to fybro so interesting reading all these comments

  9. Terry says:

    I have the worst Chronic Dry Eye my
    Dr., has said he’s ever seen.They are doing all they can to save my sight but it is a losing battle! Mine is so bad I have stoppers in all 4 tear ducts and I also use Xidra 2 times a day and refresh tears the rest of the time. I have previously used Restasis but it didn’t help at all. My eyes are so dry that everytime I blinked it would scratch my cornea and literally feel like a paper cut in my eye!Imake no tears whatsoever and I have Sjorgrens Syndrome. So,yes I and my eye Dr’s., are fighting to se my sight!I can barely see anything out of my left eye which is the worst one!
    I hope none of you gt this because its a pain….. real pain.

  10. Karen says:

    I have had fibro and Sjogrens for 50+ years. I take RSO capsules for pain which helps a lot and I’ve been able to get off 50% of my meds. My eyes are still dry but not as bad as they used to be. I also take 2600 mg of flaxseed oil (capsule form) which helps the dry eye immensely. When I increase my water intake and reduce the caffeine I find that too helps. Good luck everyone and keep sharing the tips!

  11. Mary Carrazza says:

    Hi Robin.
    Thankyou for your article. I have all the above eye symptoms – at various times, on various days. The most disconcerting were the bright white flashing lights at the outer corner if my eyes – but like most things – we adapt. My eyes also “leak” from the outer corners – a gel like substance which dries into tiny crystals. Weird. Again not every day – but often. My GP said it was dry eye – but that doesn’t make sense. I see an Opthamologist each year – so I’ll check with him on my next visit. FM is such a challenge in so many ways.
    Once again – thankyou for writing about an issue we don’t discuss very often within the FM community – but we all seem to have some eye issues.

  12. Sharon Pullam says:

    Last year I had cataract surgery. It was done by a very prominent doctor here in Toronto. It didn’t come out as planned. He figured it must have had to do with an error in the measurements. I am wondering if my eye muscles changed at a critical point, ie perhaps right before the surgery. Has anyone else had or heard of this problem?

  13. Tracy says:

    Hi, I also have FM. My biggest issue is severe pain in my eyes. I have an eye specialist due to a rare eye disease. She sees nothing that might cause this pain. My neurologist sent me to a rheumatologist who said that FM doesn’t cause eye pain. I listen to TV. I don’t feel I have dry eyes but I use drops. I’m lost.

  14. Elle Tergina says:

    It was my ophthalmologist that told me that I should go to my primary care physician, after asking if I had ever been diagnosed with fibro.
    My vision is in constant flex. Drives me crazy!
    Great to see this post. Thanks.

  15. Cathe says:

    Are there any studies or published articles that you know of? I’d like something to show my Dr. He isn’t likely to agree unless I can provide him with something to “study” that he can relate to and be the facilitator for the care that may be outside his current scope. I save him time by providing it to him. He likes our arrangement.

  16. Kathy Peebles says:

    I was dx with fibro sevral years ago. Could not afford to quit work, so fought against the pain, etc. Three years ago, both parents passed within 3 months of eah other, add in major depression, chronic fatigue and chronic pain, and NOW the vision problems. Haven’t been able to work x21/2 years and have a disability hearing in September.

  17. Lori Lesser says:

    Robin, thank you so much for this information. I was formally diagnosed a little over 2 years ago. I’ve suffered with symptoms for years but finally found the right doctor. Until today I didn’t realize that it could be FM causing my vision problems. I have blurry vision off and on, extreme sensitivity to lights to the point that I wear yellow tinted lenses at work and night, eye pain and drainage. I don’t have dry eye problems, thank goodness. FM is so strange in the way that it affects each of us.

    • Terry says:

      I do have Chronic Dry Eyes. I wear plugs in all 4 tear ducts and they are so dry at times it scratches my corneas very badly! With all that everyday I have to continuously put Refresh Tears in and they still feel like sandpaper innthem all the time!

    • Joe says:

      I do use yellow tinted glasses, do you see small sparkles in your vision from time to time? I’m asking just because it causes me anxiety and want to know if it could be from FM.

  18. Lisa says:

    I have all of the symptoms as well, including the stabbing eye pain. I also have extremely puffy eyes with loss of pigment around eye(like reverse racoon look). Does anyone else have this. I rcvd my fm diagnosis a few yrs ago, but have just started treatment to relieve symptoms.

  19. Sherrie Welch says:

    Hi i was diagnosed with FM about a month ago. I had 20/20 vision my whole life and this summer things changed. I was playing on my ipad and then noticed everything was blurry. It scared the crap out of me! The next day I could see great again. This happened 2-3 times over the summer. I had an optometrist appointment to have my eyes checked out. Apparently i need glasses….I have had my glasses for almost a month and only needed to wear them maybe once a week to begin with. But the last couple days even with my glasses on it’s blurry, I can’t see the tv clearly at all, lights at night seem to be 2-3 times bigger than they should like its foggy outside even though its not. It makes driving extremely difficult. I am scared about my vision and how fast it seems to be deteriorating. Any pointers?

  20. Donna says:

    I have flickering lines in my vision sometimes and was wondering whether it might be from my fibromyalgia. It’s similar to a migraine aura, but very brief. Anyone with the same?

  21. Ahmed Hassan says:

    Hi all,
    I would like to mention an important symptom of FM related to eyes which is (eyes floaters)the thin dark lines into your eyes they clearly noticed when you looking or staring at bright surface or you looking at daytime to the sky.Those eye floaters really noisy and put me on a huge mass of anxiety and stress.Unfortunately,there is no cure or medicine even eye drops for this symptom and they worsen overtime and increased in one or both eyes gradually.

  22. Daniel Matthews says:

    Thank you for your article, i wish doctors your article, that way they might actually listen to their patient.

    Besides the occasional double vision, i get the blindness, it’s like a slow blondness symptom. This sometimes will mix with my sensitive to sound. When my Fibro first started, this would scare the hell out of me, it caused so many panic attacks, but i managed over the many years how to no be afraid of losing my sense of surroundings. Now it’s just annoying, it will make me lose sense of my surroundings when i’m in the middle of a conversation.

    I knew it was something with my Fibro. I think i have a severe case of Fibro, but specialist never really listen, all they care about is getting their paycheck. I don’t understand why they get paid, because i get more information and advise from the internet.

    I started writing down my symptoms over a 6 months period, it’s now 3 pages long.

    Thank you for this article, it has cleared so much up for me.

  23. Romaine delabrue says:

    Searching for any opionions- I have fibromyalgia, arthritis, scoliosis, now peripheral neuropathy! Had shingles, now losing hearing, vision issues n I’m scared I’m going to be crippled from all this I need answers

  24. Debbie Lentz says:

    Wow, sitting here with really dry itchy eyes, stumbled across this, thank goodness I did! I have the random stabbing pain in my eyes and the double vision (especially in the morning) too. While I know that I can’t do anything about this for now, It’s good to know that I’m not alone. I’ve been diagnosed for a couple of years now after 5-6 years of knowing something was wrong, but doctor couldn’t figure it out. Switched doctors.

    Anyway, thanks for being here!

  25. Myron says:

    Last year I had a Dsek for Fuch’s Dystrophy. I have pasted my one year anniversity and I still have inflamation that is not responding to medication treatments. The corneal transplantation is clear, but inflamation can be seen. It was detected I had a postop CME. This led to retinal specialist, who has injected the eye to resolve the CME, but the edema continue. Could it be that my fibro is interfering with the healing process.

  26. Shashwat says:

    Hi guys,

    I have been diagnosed with chronic fybromyalgia and its been around 3 years.
    It is not common to see people with this problem and therefore i haven’t talked to any other patient about this.
    This is a good place where we can share our thoughts on this.

    lets start with how can i suppress this pain and tiredness without taking meds?

  27. Christine says:

    What is the BEST treatment for blurred vision caused by Fibro? Unable to find the most current and innovative treatment. Please help. Issues have affeted activities of daily life. Thank you.

  28. Cara says:

    I always thought my vision issues were because of looking at computers all day. I started noticing it during college when going back and forth between projector slides and taking notes. I noticed the projector display seemed fuzzy and that my eyes couldn’t focus. Now I have a problem with monitor displays and keeping focused. Some days are better than others. I tend not to wear eye makeup because I feel like it makes it worse for some reason. Also, when I have a flare-up in my neck I also notice my vision is affected.

  29. Roxy says:

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 4 years ago. Since then I have occasional vertigo, ringing in ears, see heatwaves, dermatitis, and now Allergic Conjunctivitis for 2 months. Ophthalmologist said it’s viral, too long for being just viral. I was told to use Refresh preservative free lubricating eye drops up to every 1-2 hours. No relief yet. You all have mentioned dry eyes, but need to know if anybody has issues with Conjunctivitis.

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