Myasthenia gravis is a muscular condition that causes muscle weakness and fatigue. Muscles that control eye and eyelid movement may be affected by this condition. This can result in drooping eyelids or double vision.
Most persons with myasthenia gravis eye symptoms will acquire weakening in other areas within a year or two. The muscles of the face, eyes, arms, and legs are all affected in this larger type. It also affects the muscles that allow you to chew, swallow, and speak. It has the potential to alter respiratory muscles. When this happens, it is known as a myasthenic crisis, and it’s a life-threatening emergency.
Periods of muscle weakness are common in myasthenia gravis, followed by periods with few or no symptoms.
This condition is caused by your body’s immune system damaging muscle receptors. Your immune system develops antibodies that interfere with the receptors. The substance that goes from nerve terminals to receptors is harmed as a result of this interference. This link is required for your muscles to function correctly. Muscles grow weak without it.
Myasthenia Gravis Manifests Itself in a Variety of Ways
The eyes are frequently involved in the earliest signs of myasthenia gravis. Ptosis, or drooping eyelids, is the most prevalent symptom. One or both eyes may be affected. You may become more tired as the day progresses if you have this condition.
Other symptoms include:
- a lack of strength in the arms or legs
- breathing, speech, eating or swallowing problems
Who Is at Risk?
Myasthenia gravis does not have any known risk factors. People with a family history of myasthenia gravis are more likely to get the disease. Between the ages of 20 and 40, women are more prone to develop myasthenia gravis. After the age of 60, men are more prone to develop the disease. However, it can still strike at any age.
Stress, illness, and fatigue can aggravate myasthenia gravis. If you have myasthenia, talk to your doctor before starting any new medication, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter. Certain medications can exacerbate the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
Your ophthalmologist can do tests to identify myasthenia gravis, such as:
- a blood test to see if there are any abnormal antibodies
- a neurological evaluation of your physical and mental abilities
- a nerve stimulation examination of your muscles’ electrical activity
- a test with edrophonium chloride, a nerve stimulant, to see if it improves your muscle strength temporarily
To find the optimal treatment, your ophthalmologist will collaborate with a neurologist. The treatment will be determined by several factors, including the muscles afflicted and how weak they are.
One or more of the following treatments may be used:
- Medications that help improve nerve-muscle communication and boost muscular strength
- Muscle-strengthening drugs that prevent the formation of abnormal antibodies
- If your doctors believe the thymus gland is playing a role, they may recommend surgery to remove it
- Plasmapheresis. This process replaces abnormal antibodies in the blood with normal cells.
- Immunoglobulin (IVIG). This is a drug that allows you to add antibodies from donated blood to your body.
Physical treatment and the acquisition of new coping skills may aid in the improvement of one’s daily life.