Some may call this a horror story, but the fact is it is a true story and from what I have read and heard, happens more often than not to people that have pars planitis.
My name is Sean Weeks and I was diagnosed with Pars Planitis and Peripheral Uveitis about 8 and a half years ago. My symptoms first showed up as half of a black ring in the center of my vision in my left eye in Feb. of 2003, three months after I turned 19. It took over 3 months before I had the money to go see an eye doctor regarding it. The doctor looked at my eye after dialating it and said that I need to see a retina specialist. I had barely been able to get the money saved to see the eye doctor and being a college student with no job was not an easy task. A few months later I got a full time job working as a cook and again went back to a doctor and this time was able to go to the retina specialist they referred me to since I now had insurance. For months, they tried to treat it and determine if I had contracted something that was causing me to have pars planitis.
The eyes drops and shots beneath my eye did nothing more than somewhat slow down the progression of the pars. Even though I had insurance I could no longer afford even the co-pays and with no improvement from the treatments I had no choice but to stopping going. Within 2 months of that point I could not see out of my left eye due to the massive collection of “floaters” or vitritis, I believe, that had accumulated in the jelly of my eye. I was scared, and barely able to read anything because my right eye is my lazy eye and have always had a hard time seeing as well out of it. I spoke to my father and he recommended I see this retina specialist he had heard of that was in my area. So I got the referral to go to this new specialist and scheduled the appointment. when they saw me they did many things that were surprising to me, but comforting at the same time. They took pictures and contrast video of my retina and eye and many other things that honestly have no clue what they were called. At the end of my appointment I met with the specialist and he told me that because of the build up I had to have surgery to clean it up because my body would never be able to clean it all up on its own. He also told me that I had the same problems in my right eye, but it hadn’t really developed and was not concerned with it at that time. I tried to ask questions, but got very short and indscriptive answers until I asked what will happen to my eyes with this problem. He responded that if I go untreated that I would more than likely be completely blind in both eyes by the time I was 40 years old. I was really scared at this point and did what the doctor asked which was have the surgery and receive the 2 steroid shots directly in my eye that he said would fix the problem for now. The surgery allowed me to see out of my left eye again and the shots took the bluriness away. He never gave me a long term treatment or even suggested it. Well, I went on my way and about 3 years later I noticed the build up of floaters in my eye again, but this time it was my right, not my left. It has progressed much, much slower in my right than my left, ;probably due to it being my lazy eye. It is now March of 2012 and the bluriness in my left eye came back almost 2 years ago, but without the floaters this time, and the build up in my right has expanded past just the ring in the center of my vision, but is still not as bad as it had gotten in my left eye. I have been unable to get my eyes treated for the past 5 years because of severe financial difficulty. Now, I have no idea if or how bad any permanent damage may have been done to my eyes or if it can be fixed.
I have now fought and lived with Pars Planitis and Peripheral Uveitis for over 9 years, scared and have never been successful in finding much education on this subject until today. I hope that people out there receive the education that they need in order to understand what this is and what it does. I had no idea that no one I had seen regarding my problem had not even suggested a lot of the treatments that were out there. I hope that I can find a way to get the help my eyes need and I pray it isn’t too late. I have a 3 month old son now, and I hope and pray that I will have many many more years of being able to see him grow, smile, play, and become the young man and man he is going to be. I hope that OIUF can help people out there like me that have no idea about this illness or what to do about it. Good luck to all that have these eye problems and don’t ever stop fighting for your right to see.
Thank you for your time.
Sean C. Weeks
Click here to listen to
Uveitis and Steroid-Sparing Therapy
Presented by C. Stephen Foster, MD, FACS, FACR
Audio-Digest Ophthalmology Volume 56, Issue 15