Chronic Kidney Disease and its effect on vision

  • Nov 1, 2021
  • 9 min to read

It may sound a bit far-fetched however more often than not; a chronic kidney patient’s vision is affected because of the disease. Eyes and Kidney have numerous structural and development similarities and hence studies suggest that there may be a strong link between kidney and eye diseases. ., as part of their Ask the Doctor series, connected with Dr. Seema Khaire an eye surgeon from Pune with over 18 years of experience to understand the relation between Chronic Kidney Disease and its effect on vision. The interaction is in Marathi, however you can read the transcript of the interaction below.

CKD and and its effect on vision may be due to the following risk factors:

  1. Underlying co-morbidities like diabetes or hypertension.
  2. Metabolic disorders associated with CKD.
  3. Uremia and anemia.
  4. CKD treatment itself.

In this interaction Dr. Khaire has answered a few common questions that have been asked about the connection between vision and kidney diseases. Let us look at some of these questions

Puffiness or swelling around the eyes is common in kidney patients, how does that affect the vision?


Can periorbital edema be dangerous for eye diseases?

The swelling or puffiness is caused because of fluid retention or lack of protein. It is generally not serious and as long as the fluid is passive there is no danger to the vision. If the fluid retention is high, it may cause the eyes to end up looking like slits and that could lead to poor visibility but it is not dangerous.

Does a Patient with stage 2-3 CKD have red eyes?

Patient with Stage 2-3 CKD are in the mild to moderate category. Redness of the eyes, watery eyes or pain in the eye is a symptom of dry eyes which is a common side effect in CKD patients. Another reason for red eyes could be the increase of phosphate and calcium in the body. This increase effects the composition of tears. To manage the redness you can keep wet cloth sheets on the eyes. Drinking water is a cure; however this needs to be done in consultation with the nephrologist. If the redness is severe or does not reduce even after water sheet application, then lubrication drops or other treatments might be prescribed.

Can CKD affect vision of kids with CKD?

Sadly, Yes. As the disease progresses it does have an impact on eyes and vision. Some of the common vision problems that affect the patients both young and old are cataract, glaucoma and refractive errors or getting spectacles. Spectacles in kids is common for patients with kidney diseases. Some medicines or steroids can also cause cataract and glaucoma in patients.

Can kidney medicines affect vision?

Yes, certain medicines and steroids can cause problems for vision. Some of the common issues are glaucoma and cataract. However, with these diseases treatment is available so it won’t affect the functionality for a patient. For glaucoma there are medicines to manage it and with cataract we have surgeries available.

Vision test is not prescribed as a standard practice to patients with CKD. Early detection can help manage these vision problems better. With some medications, nephrologists will recommend yearly eye test or earlier, depending on the effects.

Another important thing to know is that when a patient is on dialysis and has diabetes induced bleeding in the retina, the patient might experience sudden vision loss. To avoid this, it is important to get regular eye checkup if the patient has kidney diseases along with diabetes. In situations where such a bleeding occurs, the patient needs to consult an eye surgeon immediately to get laser treatment at the earliest.

Preventive Measures or Tips to care for Vision

Regular check-up once you know about kidney disease is the best way to manage vision. Do not ignore common side effects like red eyes and puffiness. Follow doctor’s advice and inform them about any pain or irritation that you might face in case of medicine change. As Chronic Kidney Disease is a chronic illness, overtime it is bound to affect other organs. It is important to be cognizant of this fact and stay informed to manage the disease and allied symptoms better.

You can also be a part of’s support group for kidney patients. It is a social network for chronic kidney patients and a trusted source for kidney patients to find all the relevant information that is vetted by experts.