Fortunately, involvement of the eye is uncommon in lyme disease. But when the eyes can be affected in many different ways by the disease.
In the early stage of the disease, many persons have conjunctivitis. In this condition, commonly called pink eye, the eyes are red and uncomfortable, and there is a discharge of pus. Unlike many forms of conjunctivitis, the type that occurs in lyme disease is not contagious.
In later stages of the disease, inflammation of the eye may develop. Parts of the eye that may be affected include the uvea, the middle layer inside the eye, the cornea, part of the outer coat of the eye; the iris, the colored circle around the pupil, and the choroid, a layer of blood vessels in the eye. Ocular symptoms can include sensitivity to light and floaters (spots in front of the eyes).
Inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) also can occur, which results in visual loss. Loss of vision can result from inflammation in the brain as well.
Persons who develop Bell’s palsy may be unable to blink or close their eyes. This dries the cornea and can result in an infection or even a hole in the cornea, which can endanger vision if not treated promptly.