What is Myasthenia Gravis & how does it affect the eyes?
Myasthenia Gravis (pronounced My-as-theen-ee-a Grav-us) is an autoimmune disease that causes fluctuating muscle weakness & fatigue. The fluctuating weakness affects only the voluntary muscles of the body (the muscles you control). MG can be localized, affecting only the eyes, or it can be generalized, affecting other muscle systems. In 75% of myasthenia cases, the initial symptoms are eye-related. Within 2 years of diagnosis, 80% of cases with initial eye symptoms will progress to involve other muscles in the body.
Some ocular symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis are blurred vision, double vision, drooping of the eyelids, and focusing trouble which can worsen as the day progresses. Other non-ocular symptoms may include trouble speaking, swallowing, or chewing as well as arm & leg muscle weakness. In more serious cases, the respiratory muscles can be involved. The good news is that MG is treatable with medications & close follow up with your doctor.
If you think you are experiencing these symptoms, it is best to make an appointment with your primary care physician to discover what is happening. Your doctor may ask you to see an eye doctor for a thorough exam. The qualified doctors at Milwaukee Eye Care would be happy to assist you!
Written by Bart W., Ophthalmic Technician for Milwaukee Eye Care