Gluten is the most well documented cause of autoimmune disease in medical research. In addition, celiac disease increases a person’s susceptibility to multiple forms of autoimmune disease. The coexistence of celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases have been shown in many studies.

There are also a variety of autoimmune diseases directly related to gluten exposure that can affect the eyes. For example, dry eye syndrome has been reported in gluten related autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and scleroderma.

Approximately 25 percent of patients with RA will have ocular manifestations. These may include keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye, as mentioned previously), scleritis, episcleritis, keratitis, peripheral corneal ulceration. Less commonly, they can also include choroiditis, retinal vasculitis, episcleral nodules, retinal detachments, and macular edema.

Exophthalmos, or bulging eye occurs in approximately half of patients with thyroid disease – both hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and hyperthyroid or Graves disease. Thyroid disease is strongly linked with gluten ingestion and celiac disease.

Finally, there is a suspected link between celiac disease and lupus. Ocular disease occurs in 20 percent of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). External ocular manifestations include keratoconjunctivitis sicca, conjunctivitis, uveitis, episcleritis, scleritis, keratitis, and a discoid lupus rash over the eyelids that is often confused with blepharitis.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This video is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is strictly intended for educational purposes only. Additionally, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. Dr. Osborne is not a medical doctor. He does not treat or diagnose disease. He offers nutritional support to people seeking an alternative from traditional medicine. Dr. Osborne is licensed with the Pastoral Medical Association.

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