by Dr. Bill Rawls
Chronic Lyme patients experience a variety of localized symptoms, but vision trouble is something we get asked about a lot. Dr. Bill Rawls explains how Borrelia and Lyme coinfections can affect the eyes, plus he shares insights on what can help. Learn more about Lyme disease symptoms, tests, and treatment options here.
Question: Can Lyme disease cause vision problems?
Hello, this is Dr. Bill Rawls with a question: Can Lyme disease cause vision changes? And the answer is yes, it’s actually quite common.
A lot of people do have vision changes, and it can be a variety of different things. Many people experience what are called floaters in the eye, and they see things in their field of vision. It can cause blurry vision.
But the question is, where is it coming from? What’s the source, and what do you do about it?
We know that Borrelia, the microbe that’s been associated with Lyme disease, likes collagen, and the eye has collagen. What Borrelia wants is nutrients and resources. So it’s going anywhere in the body that it can gain protection from the immune system and get the resources that it needs. Well, the eye is a really nice place for that. So it’s not uncommon for these microbes to show up in the eye.
So it can be Borrelia, but here’s the deal: There are a lot of microbes associated with chronic Lyme that have been associated with vision changes and ocular problems.
Bartonella is one of them. It’s notorious for affecting the covering of the eyes, so you can get blurry vision. Mycoplasma and others have shown up in the eye. Chlamydia is notorious for showing up in the eye. And all of these things are either coinfections, or they have in common that the immune dysfunction that’s associated with Lyme allows these microbes to flourish.
A big one out there that’s fairly unrecognized is one called Toxoplasma; that’s a protozoa that can affect the eye and is present. You get it from eating undercooked meat, and you can’t eradicate it with antibiotics from the body. Sixty percent of the world’s population is carrying Toxoplasma, and it very commonly ends up in the eye.
So you can get these localized symptoms. Sometimes antibiotics are effective, but a lot of times the antibiotics will affect your normal flora and disrupt your system.
What I found personally when I developed eye symptoms, I developed blurriness. I had the floaters in my eye. I used herbal therapy, and as I used herbal therapy, it gradually cleared up.
Sometimes, I would have a reactivation — in my right eye, especially. I could tell when I was having a relapse, because I’d start getting blurry vision and sometimes some eye changes, and I couldn’t see quite as well out of that eye. So that would cue me in that I was starting to have a relapse, and I would double up on my herbal therapy.
Personally, I used herbal therapy, but I think these things could be treated with eye drops or conventional antibiotics also. I found a company called Himalaya that actually makes herbal eye drops. I used those products and found that they were pretty good for clearing up the blurriness of the eye.
So there are things that you can do about it, plus treating the chronic immune dysfunction because ultimately that’s the solution. The thing that’s going to eradicate all the symptoms in your body associated with chronic Lyme and protect you the best is restoring normal immune system functions. That comes from suppressing the microbes with herbs, but also supporting the immune system with herbal therapy and all the dietary and lifestyle modifications that you need to reach a symptom-free state.