If you have loose, carious, or infected teeth, you probably never thought about how they can affect your eyes. In fact, you may have thought your new onset of blurred vision, eye pain, redness, or distorted vision was simply because you needed a stronger eyeglasses prescription. Here are three ways your teeth and gums might be affecting your eyes and what you can do about them:
The symptoms of periodontitis are similar to those of gingivitis, only more severe. If you have periodontitis, your gums may be very sore and bleed even when not brushing or flossing. While gingivitis is typically reversible after meticulous brushing and flossing, periodontitis may not be. This condition not only causes gum problems, it can also lead to destruction of the bones that support your teeth.
When this happens, your upper jawbone may undergo inflammatory changes that can affect your trigeminal nerve, causing trigeminal neuralgia. This condition can cause severe facial and eye pain, watering of the affected eye, vision problems, and in some cases, temporary blindness.
Regular dental visits and oral antibiotics will help resolve periodontitis, and once the inflammation and infection go away, your eye problems and trigeminal neuralgia will probably be eliminated as well.
A dental abscess is a severe infection that usually affects your molars. Symptoms include pain, gum inflammation, and drainage from the surrounding tissue. The infection can trigger a systemic inflammatory response, promoting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemicals that spur inflammation inside your body.
When this occurs, inflammation of your facial and optic nerves may develop, leading to numbness, searing or burning pain, and tingling sensations in your forehead, eyelid, and cheek on the same side as your abscess.
Once your dentist has treated your infection by either extracting your tooth, performing a root canal, or treating the abscess with antibiotics, your facial and optic nerve inflammation will subside. Sometimes, however, lingering symptoms may persist for months afterwards. If you still experience numbness, pain, or tingling sensations of the eyelids or face, you may need to visit a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If you have diabetes, you may be more prone to an oral fungal infection known as candidiasis. This oral condition causes white patches to develop on your tongue that bleed easily. Also known as oral thrush, candidiasis fungal infections can travel to other parts of the body, including the eyes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of fungal eye infections include eye redness, eye pain, light sensitivity, blurriness, and eye drainage. If you develop a fungal-related eye infection, your doctor will prescribe an anti-fungal eye drop, an oral anti-fungal medication, or both. Oral candidiasis infections are generally treated with an antimicrobial oral rinse and oral anti-fungals.
If you feel as though you may need a stronger eyeglass prescription because of a sudden decrease in your visual acuity, see your eye doctor, like AICO Optical. A visit to your dentist will also be in order if you have any of the above conditions because the sooner they are recognized and treated, the sooner your dental professional can implement an effective treatment plan. If your eye problems are related to your oral conditions, your ocular symptoms will improve once your teeth and gums are restored to good health.