Sunday, April 15, 2012

I know this much is true...

I am finally led to the exam room and sit, waiting for the doctor to come in.  The whole time I still have a bandanna over my eyes, my sunglasses on, and my hand over my eyes so no light can get in at all.  Light was my enemy, no matter how slight.  I sort of wish I had pictures from the day so you can get an idea of how ridiculous I felt and how red my eye was.  This image from Wikipedia pretty much sums it all up.  


The doctor starts his exam, and I can tell he is getting frustrated.  I am unable to open my eye (even in a dark room) and he can't see what is going on.  Once I am finally able to open it for a few seconds he scrunches his face and I can tell that he immediately knows what is going on.  He diagnoses me with Iritis, and inflammation of my iris.  My pupil stopped dilating in my right eye and is no longer regulating light.  You can see the variation is sizes in the picture above.

Fortunately, the doctor was able to give me some drops which offered me instant relief.  One of the drops was specifically for dialiting my pupil, which cured my light sensitivity, but made it so I could not focus on anything small (like reading off of a computer), which is a small side effect considering.  It took a few weeks, but eventually my eye returned to normal.  I was told that it is sometimes a freak occurrence.  It can just happen to people out of nowhere, for no reason.  Not to even worry about it, unless it happens again.

Flash forward to 2009 (six years later).  I hadn't thought about the incident much, and brushed it off as just one of those things.  One night I took a vitamin that gave me an allergic reaction (hives are scary if you have never had them before).  This incident seemed to set off a chain reaction which led to my second occurrence of iritis.  Again I couldn't open my eyes to any kind of light.  Again I had take dialiting drops and a steroid to fix my eye.  Again I brushed it off as just one of those things.

In the next few months I got several more flare ups.  This led to a series of tests (and what seemed like 10 vials of blood being drawn) to figure out what was causing this.  When you have multiple occurrences, it is a symptom of something else.  A lot of scary something elses. 

For me, it turned out I have an antigen in my body that causes this.  It causes lots of other scary things too, that hopefully I will never have to deal with.  Just having the antigen means I am at greater risk for them.  I will get flare ups of iritis from time to time, and need to see the doctor every time.  The steroid you have to take to fix it also causes other eye issues.  Nothing in life is ever simple, right?

I mainly wrote this blog post to share my experience living with with iritis .  As my doctor explained it, essentially I have arthritis in my eye.  I have been dealing with a flare up over the last few weeks, and it can be very frustrating and a bit debilitating.  Also, I am hoping that someone else who may be dealing with it may read this and be able to share their experience with me.  It seems to be a rare ailment, and I have never met anyone else that has it.

Of course, if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them, either via comments below or email.   


Adele said...

It's always really scary when there's something wrong with your eye. At least you have answers now & can hopefully nip it in the bud if it flares up again. A really interesting read Erin.
Happy Monday xoxo

colleen said...

wow. i'm glad you're able to deal with it but the human body can be a crazy thing - all of this caused by a certain antigen in your blood. hope your latest flare-up is almost done and you're feeling better.

Emmy said...

Erin, thank you for sharing your experience. I've never heard of this before. I'm glad to hear that at least, there are drops that can help out with this. I hope you don't get any flare ups soon:(

rooth said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us and I hope it finds its way to people who are suffering from the same ailment. I'm glad you found something that will help treat it and hope this latest flare up goes away soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that you have been through this, Erin! It's very scary when there's something wrong with your eye :(

Hope you're feeling better now.


Heather said...

Thanks for sharing this story, and I hope your flareup calms down soon. I've never known anyone with this condition, but it's definitely important to know about in order to recognize the symptoms should it ever occur.

Stephanie said...

I have never even heard of this before but I'm glad you shared your story. It's always so frightening when something happens with your eyes. I can't believe how calmly you handled it. Hopefully this latest flare up goes away soon!

Katie said...

Girl, that's so crazy! And really stinky :( Hopefully you can connect with someone else who has it or simply find relief from sharing about it. Either way, I'm hoping for a loooong stretch with no flares up for you!!

Andrea D said...

First, I just found your had me with "pug". I LOVE pugs and yours is such a cutie! :)
Second, how scary! It's always frustrating when you have a health problem you can't get solved. I hope things get better ASAP!

Left brain, right brain, pug brain.

aki! said...

I've had my fair share of eye issues and I've read quite a few in the past few days. I think we can forget how much we use our eyes for.

BalancingMama (Julie) said...

Glad u figured it out. Sorry it's there at all! :(

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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