Causes & Symptoms of Iritis

What is Iritis?

The simple answer to that question, “What is Iritis?” is that it is an inflammation of the iris! Yup! Not so informative, but I wanted to get something written down today – I wanted to give some more information about this eye condition.

These Iritis blog entries are not photography related, but I feel a responsibility to share whatever information I can find about Iritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, AAU (Acute Anterior Uveitis) and RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), because these affect me.

http://nawfalnur.wordpress.com/ (A look into my photography, special projects and my scannography project).

As a photographer, a person who sits in front of the computer for many hours at a time, and a person who gets recurring Iritis, the combination is quite frustrating – AND PAINFUL!

Moderation, that is one of the keys. Yes, moderation.

For a more detailed answer to what Iritis is, I found a good answer from Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., who is an associate physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. He answers a question about, “What is the link between RA and these eye conditions?”

Click here  for the link to Dr. Shmerling’s answer. The answer comes from an HONcode Web-site, and this is a really cool NGO that gives a sort of accreditation to Medical Web-sites to make sure the information is accurate and medically sound.

Thus, if I link to any sites with information of a ‘medical nature’, I’ll attempt to find sites that have the HONcode logo, or some other type of accredited source.

Anyway, if I can find medical advice from PROFESSIONALS in the field (of whatever topic), then I’ll attempt to find the information to share and provide a link.

Otherwise, I’ll just be continuing to share some of my own thoughts and experiences on the topic of Iritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Being a Photographer with Iritis and AS…

IRITIS: Part Deux

Eyeball with Iritis - by Nawfal Nur of Nawfal’s own eyeball.

IRITIS: Part Deux

Well Folks, I’m going to write this fast because I can’t sit here long at the computer, and soon you will find out why.

I’ve noticed that a number of people come to my Photo-Blog from the Search Engines after they do a search for “Iritis.” I wrote my first entry on iritis a little over a year ago; and almost like clockwork, I’m getting iritis once again. In this post I want to give you more specifics about this eye condition, things to look for, and also, the big eye photograph is my eye with iritis. The eyeball will get redder as the condition gets worse; but as a general warning, I wouldn’t recommend you take a photograph of your eye if suffering from iritis – the studio lights are a killer for the eyeball when having this condition.

This is a very painful and debilitating eye condition. Here is my definition of this condition:

1) It’s a very painful eye condition where in the late stages of development, the iris sticks to the lens. The eyeball becomes very sensitive to touch, light and vision becomes blurry. “When the iris is inflammed, white blood cells (leukocytes) are shed into the anterior chamber of the eye…these cells can accumulate and cause adhesion between the iris and the lens.” [Source: http://www.iritis.org/ ]

2) Here’s a more detailed medical definition from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center:

”Uveitis means “inflammation of the uvea”, or the middle layer of the eye. The uvea consists of three structures: the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid. The iris is the colored structure surrounding the pupil, visible in the front of the eye. The ciliary body is a structure containing muscle and is located behind the iris which focuses the lens. The choroid is a layer containing blood vessels that line the back of the eye and is located between the inner visually sensitive layer, called the retina, and the outer white eye wall, called the sclera. Inflammation occurring in any of these three structures is termed “uveitis”.

Inflammation in uveitis may involve any but not necessarily all of these three structures. Depending upon which structures are inflamed, uveitis may be further subcategorized into one of three main diagnoses, these include:

· iritis or anterior uveitis,

· iridocyclitis or intermediate uveitis, and

· choroiditis or posterior uveitis.

Uveitis may develop following eye trauma or surgery, in association with diseases which affect other organs in the body, or may be a condition isolated to the eye itself. Severe and permanent visual loss can result from uveitis. In addition, uveitis can lead to other ocular complications, which may produce vision loss, including glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal damage. Early detection and treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.

Symptoms
Depending on which part of the eye is inflamed in uveitis different combinations of these symptoms may be present.

· Redness

· Light sensitivity

· Floaters

· Blurry vision

· Pain

These symptoms may come on suddenly, and you may not experience any pain. The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have uveitis. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.

Treatment
Treatment may include steroid eyedrops, injections, or pills, as well as eyedrops to dilate the pupil and reduce pain. More severe cases of uveitis may even require treatment with chemotherapeutic agents to suppress the immune system.” [ SOURCE: http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/patientcare/conditions/uveitis.html


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I would not totally agree that symptoms come on “suddenly”, but conditions may vary per person. I’ve been getting gentle warning signals now for days that this was going to happen. And, it is somewhat amazing to me, that I’ll get iritis in the left eye one year and then just to be fair (it would seem), the next year it happens to the right eye.

I’ll give you the symptoms as I get them, then you can compare notes to what you may be feeling in your eyeball. However, please keep in mind, depending on the type of uveitis you have, the symptoms, of course, may differ.

a) If you have any disease that makes you more susceptible to iritis. (i.e. I suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). One of the problems many AS patients also endure is recurring outbreaks of Iritis.)

[ankylosing spondylitis
n.

Arthritis of the spine, resembling rheumatoid arthritis and leading to lipping or fusion of the vertebrae. Also called Strümpell-Marie disease, Marie-Strümpell disease, rheumatoid spondylitis, Strümpell-Marie disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.]

b) A few days before iritis kicks into top gear, my eyeball feels sluggish and heavy.

My Ophthalmologist tells (warns) me that staring at something, like a computer screen, for long periods are quite hazardous for anyone prone to iritis. Why? Because your eyes are constantly focusing at that set distance – arms length – for long periods. Therefore, if you have the same type of work habits as me, then maybe, you should get up and move around more often. In other words, get away from the computer and give your eyes more breaks.

Once iritis has really started kicking in, there are several additional warning signs to keep in mind:

c) The eyeball gives a burning/achy pain.

d) Blood vessels crop up in the whites of the eye and the white part starts turning red (bloodshot).

e) Throbbing in the eyeball.

f) Put your hand out and move it toward the affected eye, the closer you move your hand to your eye, and as your eye tries to focus on your hand, there will be an almost instant shooting pain in your eyeball.

g) Blurriness of vision.

h) Photophobic (high sensitivity to light).

i) Close your eyelid, and then lightly touch the affected eyeball, especially just on the outside of the colored portion of eye. If there is pain in a spot or two, that is a possible sign.

j) One last thing, if when you change lighting conditions in a room and the pupil of the affected eye does not change size, then that’s big trouble – at that point you better be heading off to see your Ophthalmologist.

If you have any of these more serious symptoms, you may want to have your eye checked out. Iritis is no fun and it is very dangerous. It can lead to all sorts of nasty sight problems, including blindness.

Now the Disclaimer: I’m not a physician – I’m a Photographer who suffers from Iritis. If this blog entry can be of any help to even a single person, then I am glad I spent the time on this. Take care of your eyes and see an eye doctor if you have any questions about your eyes and eye pain. Last but not least, be grateful for everything you don’t have to suffer from. But, if you learn a lesson from suffering, I guess that is something to be grateful for also. Wish me luck!