Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Cataract Surgery

Question: I have rheumatoid arthritis and vitreous detachment in both eyes as well as glaucoma. Percentage wise, what are the number of individuals that suffer from a corneal melt that have rheumatoid arthritis?

Answer: Clinically, "corneal melts" or peripheral marginal melts are a relatively rare occurrence and are usually associated with an aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis that involves more than joints and usually includes a systemic vasculitis. Oral or IV immunomodulating drugs that help control the person's inflammation systemically usually keeps the cornea from a breakdown. Many of the same drugs can be compounded in eye drop form for treatment if the cornea does become involved so that perforation is extremely rare. The incidence of a corneal melt in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis undergoing Cataract Surgery is extremely rare and has been reported to be .01%.

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