Autoimmune Eye Disorders

Schwartzman Rheumatology

Rheumatologists located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

Autoimmune diseases infrequently cause eye problems ranging from dry eye to inflammation in the uveal tract, the sclera, and the orbit. At his practice located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, world-leading rheumatologist Sergio Schwartzman, MD, has exceptional experience and knowledge in treating patients who have autoimmune eye diseases. Dr. Schwartzman is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Call the New York City office today to schedule a consultation.

Autoimmune Eye Disorders Q & A

What are autoimmune eye diseases?

A number of autoimmune, or inflammatory, diseases can affect the eye. These include uveitis, scleritis, orbital inflammatory disease, and keratitis. Although these conditions can exist as independent illnesses, they are frequently manifestations of other underlying autoimmune conditions.  

Symptoms can include red eyes, painful eyes or, when severe, loss of vision. Multiple medications are used to treat autoimmune eye disease, and management of these conditions involves close coordination between the ophthalmologist and the rheumatologist.

What autoimmune diseases affect the eyes?

Autoimmune diseases that can affect the eyes include:


Uveitis is an inflammation of the uveal tract which includes the front chamber of the eye and the back chamber of the eye. There are different types of uveitis that can affect different parts of the uveal tract, and they can be associated with different diseases. Uveitis causes red or pink eye, eye pain blurred vision, and floaters. In approximately 50% of patients with uveitis, a systemic autoimmune illness such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Sarcoidosis or Behcet’s Disease can be identified. 


Inflammation of the sclera, which is the white part of the eye. This disease can exist as a sole entity or it can be associated with rheumatoid arthritis,  relapsing polychondritis or vasculitis. 

Orbital inflammatory disease

A collection of painful conditions involving complex muscles, glands, and tissues of the orbit.


An inflammation of the cornea, the clear covering on the front of your eye.

How are autoimmune eye diseases treated?

Treatment of autoimmune eye disease depends on the underlying cause of the problem. In approximately 50% of patients with uveitis, a systemic autoimmune disease can be identified and therefore treatment for the underlying illness is appropriate. 

Dr. Schwartzman can advise you on the treatment solution that’s right for your autoimmune disorder and any eye problems you’re experiencing as a result. Call Sergio Schwartzman, MD, today to schedule a consultation.