Rachel’s Story and Request for Help!

This is Rachel’s story (submitted by her mom, Jill)… One month ago when I was reading with Rachel, I noticed her messing up on a lot of words, that’s unusual for her as she’s a very good reader for her age. I also noticed she was rubbing her eye. I asked her what was wrong and she said her eye was “kind of blurry”. Like lots of little girls her age, she’s always wearing “fake glasses” to be cool! So I didn’t take her comment too seriously, and I lectured her a bit about being truthful about her vision–huge regrets now. Anyway, the next day I emailed her school and asked them to do a vision screening. They called me right away and said her right eye was 20/20, but they got 20/400 in her left! I still didn’t “get it”, but was alarmed enough to call around and find the best ophthalmologist in Des Moines. Two days later at the ophthalmologist’s office the nurses and Drs. were kind and friendly–all seemed typical of any check-up. The whole atmosphere changed drastically when the Dr. looked at me and asked, “Has she had a major head trauma recently?”. My mind went blank and I started to panic. I couldn’t think, of course I’d know if she’d had a head injury. I said no, and answered a bunch of questions. I could tell how bad they all felt. He told me he was pretty sure she had uveitis and that we would need to go to the University of Iowa Hospital the next day.

Rachel has pan uveitis. More specifically she has pars planitis. I’m actually not so sure about that specific diagnosis. In Iowa City we learned that they could not see into her eye at all and she could not see out. Her pupil was fixed like that of someone who had had a head injury. They said they could see white cells that they call “snowbanks”. They did all kinds of tests. It honestly made me sick to realize she could see nothing in that eye and had some symptoms in her good eye. How did this happen without me knowing!? I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that. One week later Rachel was back in Iowa City. They injected a steroid in her eye and did a cryo therapy so the retina didn’t detach. They gave us steroid drops to do twice daily.

Now I’m reading that the drops aren’t too effective for this type of uveitis. I’ve read that the drops don’t penetrate to the back of the eye. Two weeks later, Rachel has a lot of vision back! Her blood tests showed no problems. I just want to know WHY. I just want to know if this will go away. It’s just starting to sink in that we may be dealing with this for a long time.

Please respond to Jill and Rachel via email:jtrainum@woodward-granger.k12.ia.us


How often should my child get an eye examination if they have JRA?

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and Uveitis

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     Uveitis and Steroid-Sparing Therapy

    Presented by C. Stephen Foster, MD, FACS, FACR

    Audio-Digest Ophthalmology Volume 56, Issue 15

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