Eye Conditions Related to Coeliac Disease and How You Can Treat Them

Coeliac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder that affects the small intestine. Over 1 in 133 Americans have it, which is around 1% of the total population. After consuming gluten, people diagnosed with coeliac disease often experience digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

Yet unexpectedly, individuals with coeliac disease are also at higher risk of developing certain eye conditions. This can be due to malnutrition or issues regarding immune system dysfunction. If left unaddressed, these could worsen and lead to vision loss. With that said, here are the eye conditions you may experience and how you can treat them:

Eye Conditions Related to Coeliac Disease

Dry Eyes

Since coeliac disease impacts the digestive system and makes it absorb vitamins and minerals less effectively, it’s commonly associated with nutritional deficiencies. One common vitamin you may go without if you have coeliac disease is Vitamin A, which is essential for lubricating the eyes. Without enough of it, you may experience blurry vision, light sensitivity, and—in severe cases—blindness.


Retinopathy is a disease also caused by Vitamin A deficiency. It damages small retinal blood vessels, causing them to leak blood and other fluids and leading to the swelling of the retinal tissue. Since the retina is responsible for transmitting visual cues to your brain for interpretation, retinopathy can cause blurred vision.


Cataracts are cloudy areas that form in the eye’s lens, making one’s vision blurry, hazy, or even less colorful. Though also caused by nutritional deficiencies, it mainly stems from the lack of vitamin D. Strict gluten-free diets can prevent you from consuming foods rich in vitamin D, like glutinous rice. Moreover, you might experience fat malabsorption that prevents the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamin D. Though cataracts can be surgically removed, they can lead to vision loss if left untreated.


How to Address and Treat Eye Conditions Related to Coeliac Disease

Get Regular Eye Exams

Having your eyes regularly checked by a health professional helps detect the onset of certain eye conditions related to coeliac disease. That way, you can address them early or prevent any present issues from worsening. It’s best to get your eyes checked every 1-2 years or whenever you’re experiencing eye problems.

If you’re too busy to book an appointment with your usual optometrist or there’s no clinic near you, you can get eye exams with the help of eyewear retailers that will connect you to eye professionals. LensCrafters hosts professionals that offer this service in most of its locations nationwide, so you can easily find a branch to book an eye appointment. By leveraging convenient ways to get your eyes checked, you can keep your vision healthy while living with coeliac disease.

Support Your Gut with Supplements

By now, it’s clear that gluten-free diets may leave you lacking essential nutrients that keep the eyes healthy. That’s why one of the health tips we put forward in our post, “6 Essential Health Tips for Coeliacs,” is to take supplements.

The best supplements to take are those that best address the nutritional gaps you currently need to fill. You can determine what you need during your annual follow-up appointments with your physician, as they’ll conduct blood tests to gauge your nutritional status. If you need a more convenient way to know what supplements you need to take, retailers like Walmart offer take-home blood tests and lab tests involving blood draws, which you can use to check your nutritional status in a quicker and more affordable fashion.

Coeliac disease can come with lots of health challenges, including eye problems. Fortunately, you can avoid and address these issues by getting regular eye exams and taking the right supplements for your needs.

Read next: Is the Gluten Free Diet Good for Bodybuilding?

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