I was a 44-year-old white male in good health. At first, like other patients with iritis/uveitis, I had no concept of what was happening to me. Almost overnight, the vision in one eye had deteriorated dramatically. I couldn’t tolerate normal lighting. I couldn’t keep my bad eye open when outdoors. I could only read with one eye closed. I thought that I must have injured it; perhaps, scratched the eye during yard work or something. When it did not resolve itself within a couple of days, I decided to get it evaluated. Being a lawyer and working in Boston, I went to the MEEI Emergency Room. Almost immediately, the Resident identified my problem and sent me to see Dr. Foster, who saw me on the very same day. I, not being accustomed to such prompt attention, began to be concerned.
Dr. Foster was quite direct with me. He explained the disease process and told me that I should have steroid injections and begin another medication, Daypro. I did not look forward to the notions of injections in the eye and a indeterminately long course of medications, so I asked him what would happen to me if I declined to treat. I liked his direct answer less than I liked the course of treatment! I have a phobia about many aspects of medical treatment (I am afraid of dentists, tongue depressors, etc.), and the thought of the steroid injections made me nearly faint. I was concerned that the cure might be worse than the disease, but Dr. Foster was unyielding and excellent. I also began my course of daypro immediately.
Within 48 hours, my vision had improved dramatically and was normal in another day. Since then, I have only had a flare-up when we have experimented with discontinuing the Daypro. While my tear ducts have sustained some damage and I must use artificial tears frequently, I have been symptom-free for more than three years.
I recognize that I am fortunate in many ways. I was lucky that I went to MEEI when I did, lucky to be referred to Dr. Foster promptly, lucky to have him persuade me to follow the course of treatment, and luckiest of all to have my eye respond to the treatment so well. I realize that other patients are not always so fortunate, but I encourage them to stick with the program. Medicine improves literally every day.
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Uveitis and Steroid-Sparing Therapy
Presented by C. Stephen Foster, MD, FACS, FACR
Audio-Digest Ophthalmology Volume 56, Issue 15