Hello. I am so excited to have found an iritis support group. I have felt so alone. As I have read others’ experiences, they sound so much like my own.
I am a 36 year old Caucasian mother of five. My iritis started seven years ago. We were on a camping trip down in Moab, Utah. My right eye started hurting when we were hiking and seemed to get incredibly sensitive to light. By the time we got home the next day, I was having to wear sunglasses inside the house and the pain was getting bad. I went to our family physician and she couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She referred me to an opthamologist that got me right in. He preceded to diagnose me with iritis and was very alarmed at how severe my eye was. My vision had gone from 20/20 to 20/70 in what seemed like overnight. He did an injection in my eye and had me start pred forte every hour. I also had to do mydriacyl (painful dilating drop) every night. It took a month to get it cleared up and I thought that was the end of it. Boy was I wrong! A few weeks later, it was back. Now my left eye was acting up. My doctor wanted to put me on oral steroids but I was two months pregnant then with my last child. Instead I did pred forte and mydriacyl again. It calmed down and seemed to respond pretty quickly to the eye drops.
After I had my baby, I was feeling run down and sick, like I was getting something. When he was two months old, I started running a high fever of 104 degrees. I was doing this every day for a week and also had the shakes and chills. I went to an internal medicine doctor and he hospitalized me. My glands in my neck were swelling and they couldn’t figure out what I had. I broke out all over my body in a rash that looked like welts. They took tube after tube of blood from me and ran tests. They put a “pic” line into my arm-it goes from your inside arm right to your heart-and started pumping strong antibiotics into me. They used clindamyacin and gentamyacin, which actually caused some hearing loss. After four days, they let me go home with my pic line. They ran all sorts of tests. I can tell you a whole slug of diseases that I don’t have, thankfully. They did an outpatient removal of a lymph node in my neck. They biopsied it and sent it back to the CDC in Atlanta for examination. They never determined what I had. Why do I bring this up in an iritis support site? Because the doctors feel that it is related to my iritis.
It has been six years since that weird illness. I still have iritis. In fact it has gotten worse. My eye pressure in my left eye has gone up to 35! I am on three drops for pressure, two drops for iritis. I cannot get off of pred forte. Now the doctor wants to send me to a rheuomotologist and put me on the cancer fighting drug, methotrexate. That scares me to death! I know it suppresses the immune system and I worry I might get something severe. I want to raise my children. If anyone has experiences with this disease and would like to give me some advice, I welcome it. Please feel free to edit if needed.
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Uveitis and Steroid-Sparing Therapy
Presented by C. Stephen Foster, MD, FACS, FACR
Audio-Digest Ophthalmology Volume 56, Issue 15