According to the Lupus Foundation of America:
Systemic lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, including the eyes. Lupus most often affects the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and central nervous system (CNS). The clinical course is unpredictable and is characterized by periods of remissions and flares, which may be acute or chronic.
The effects lupus may have in and around the eyes include:
- Changes in the skin around the eyelids
- Dry eyes
- Inflammation of the white outer layer of the eyeball (scleritis)
- Blood vessel changes in the retina — the light-sensitive lining inside the eye
- Damage to nerves in the muscles controlling eye movement and the nerves affecting vision
- Approximately 20 percent of people with lupus also have secondary Sjögren’s Syndrome, a condition in which the tear glands do not produce sufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes; the other moisture-producing glands are similarly affected. (Primary Sjögren’s syndrome is a systemic disease that, like lupus, can affect many parts of the body.)
The Dry Eye that is seen in lupus cannot be distinguished from other Dry Eye conditions.