Can Psoriasis Cause Eye Problems?

Psoriasis flare-ups near the eyes can be especially painful and hard to treat

Although it's not all that common, psoriasis can affect the skin around the eyes and on the eyelid like it can affect skin elsewhere on the body. This can cause dryness, cracking, and irritation. But psoriasis eye problems aren't limited to that. This chronic disease can also lead to problems within the eye itself—problems that, when left untreated, can cause permanent damage and vision loss.

Psoriasis on a female eye
Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images

Psoriasis on Skin Around the Eyes

Although they are relatively rare, psoriasis flare-ups near the eyes can be especially painful and hard to treat.

Symptoms of psoriasis around the eyes are:

  • Skin discoloration and silvery-white or gray scales
  • Dry, cracked skin, possibly with bleeding
  • Pain when you move your eyelids
  • Difficulty opening and closing your eyes
  • Inward-curving eyelids that cause lashes to rub the eye itself
  • Outward-curving eyelids that cause dry eyes

Persistent dryness and rubbing from lashes can cause further eye irritation.

Treatment Options

When psoriasis flares close to the eyes, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends the following:

  • Wash the affected lids and lashes with a mixture of water and baby shampoo.
  • Use an over-the-counter eyelid cleaner, such as OCuSOFT, to remove stubborn scales.
  • Apply a topical medication, such as Elidel (pimecrolimus) or Protopic (tacrolimus), around the eyes. These medications are only available by prescription and should be used with your healthcare provider's supervision.
  • Have your intraocular eye pressure (IOP) tested by tonometry regularly by an ophthalmologist to ensure that these topical treatments aren't harming your eyes.

Dermatologists will sometimes prescribe low-potency steroids for use on the eyelids. This can help, but, due to the risk of cataract and glaucoma development, you should not continue the use of these steroids beyond the time recommended by your healthcare provider.

Uveitis and Iritis

Frequently, uveitis and iritis arise as a complication of a disease, such as psoriatic arthritis or lupus. Such diseases cause the body's immune system to attack its own healthy tissue.

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye's surface. The uvea includes the iris, which makes up the colored area at the front of the eye. When uveitis is localized at the front of the eye, it's called iritis (or anterior uveitis).

Uveitis can be localized to the ciliary body, too, which produces aqueous humor—the fluid that fills the eye. It can also be localized to the choroid, which are the small blood vessels behind the retina.

Symptoms of uveitis can include:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • "Floaters" in the field of vision
  • Pain in the eye

A diagnosis of uveitis or iritis can only be made after an examination by an ophthalmologist, who will also look for any other problems in the eye, such as cataracts or glaucoma.

Because of the connection between psoriasis and uveitis, your ophthalmologist may want to consult your primary care provider, your rheumatologist, or any specialists you are seeing to determine a treatment plan.

Treatment Options

In most cases, corticosteroid eye drops given at home will clear any inflammation. In recurring cases, you may need a systemic drug that suppresses your immune system to fight the root cause of the inflammation.

Surgery may be necessary if other problems—such as glaucoma or cataracts—are diagnosed along with uveitis.

If you have uveitis associated with psoriasis, you're more likely than people without an autoimmune disease to have recurrent uveitis problems.

A Word From Verywell

Psoriasis skin disease around the eye is not uncommon but can be tricky to treat and can lead to eye problems in more than one way. Psoriasis-related uveitis and iritis can cause notable damage and, without treatment, permanent vision loss.

These conditions may not cause any obvious symptoms until the irreversible damage is done. So, close monitoring by an ophthalmologist for early detection is paramount—effective treatments are available when the diagnosis is made in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can psoriasis make you go blind?

    Psoriasis itself cannot, but untreated uveitis—which can result from psoriasis—can cause irreversible damage to the delicate eye tissue. Untreated uveitis represents the third most common cause of preventable blindness in the U.S.

  • Can psoriasis go away?

    The condition itself doesn't go away. But successful treatment can mean remission (clear skin and no symptoms) for years at a time.

  • What triggers psoriasis?

    Common psoriasis triggers include:

    • Stress
    • Skin damage (e.g., injures, sunburns, bug bites)
    • Getting sick
    • Cold weather
7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Campanati, A., Neri, P., Giuliodori, K. et al. Psoriasis beyond the skin surface: A pilot study on the ocular involvement. International Opthalmology. 2015. 35(3):331-40. doi:10.1007/s10792-014-9950-8

  2. The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance. Psoriasis and sensitive areas.

  3. National Psoriasis Foundation. About psoriasis.

  4. Agrawal RV, Murthy S, Sangwan V, Biswas J. Current approach in diagnosis and management of anterior uveitis. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2010;58(1):11-9. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.58468

  5. Tseng ST, Yao TC, Huang JL, Yeh KW, Hwang YS. Clinical manifestations in uveitis patients with and without rheumatic disease in a Chinese population in Taiwan. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2017 Dec;50(6):798-804. doi:10.1016/j.jmii.2015.10.007

  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. How long will I have to treat my psoriasis?

  7. National Psoriasis Foundation. Causes and triggers.

Additional Reading

By Lia Tremblay
Lisa Tremblay is an award-winning writer and editor, writing for magazines, websites, brochures, annual reports, and more for over 15 years.