EYE PAIN

This is what IRITIS Looks Like

IF you ever wondered what IRITIS Looks Like, It is like this (see the photo):

"My Eye on Iritis!" Day 3 Iritis, 19 APR 2013, IMG_0915, EDIT E, NJN667. Copyright by Me.

“My Eye on Iritis!”
Day 3 Iritis, 19 APR 2013, IMG_0915, EDIT E, NJN667.
Copyright by Me.

I sit here and ponder life.

Well, being that I have Iritis AGAIN, for the umpteenth time, I am not even supposed to be at the computer:  I don’t make a very good patient.

I guess I feel obligated to share any information I can with other people who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), because one of the possible complications you may face during your life’s struggles with AS, is dealing with eye problems, which seem to go together with AS.

First, if you are new to AS, you can find a lot of information about this Spondyloarthopathy disease at the American College of Rheumatology , or, from the Spondylitis Association of America !  Both are great resources for AS information.

Second, if you are new to having AS, and you have never had Iritis before, you need to be VERY AWARE of your symptoms, because if left untreated, Iritis can lead to blindness.

The main reason I go through the PAIN of taking photos of my affected eyeball is so that anyone coming to my blog for Iritis information will be able to see what an eyeball with Iritis can look like.

THUS, if your eye looks like mine (in the photo above), and you also have some or all the following symptoms, you may have Iritis:

  1. Eye feels “heavy”.
  2. Eye looks bloodshot.
  3. When you close your eyelid and touch around the eye, it is painful to the touch (even the smallest bit of pressure).
  4. Photo-phobia:  Very sensitive to light – especially sunlight (light causes pain).
  5. Looking at things close-up is very painful.
  6. Throbbing pain in the eye.
  7. If the affected eyeball’s pupil is smaller than the non-affected eye – THIS IS SERIOUS ALREADY – GET MEDICAL HELP NOW!

Symptoms can change rapidly (for the worse) with Iritis:

By day number three, this time, my iris was stuck (inflamed badly).   Thus, in number 7 (above), when the pupil does not get bigger, smaller, or change at all in different lighting conditions, then your iritis is very bad already and you need medical help.

In medical terminology, here is some information from iritis.org:

Iritis is inflammation predominantly located in the iris of the eye. Inflammation in the iris is more correctly classified as anterior uveitis.  The ciliary body can also be inflamed and this would then be called iridocyclitis.  When the iris is inflamed, white blood cells (leukocytes) are shed into the anterior chamber of the eye where they can be observed on slit lamp examination floating in the convection currents of the aqueous humor. These cells can be counted and form the basis for rating the degree of inflammation.  [Source:  http://www.iritis.org/index.php ]

In short, it is ‘like’ Arthritis of the Eye.

So, I am here pondering life.  In addition, if you are having an Iritis flare-up, then you should stay away from the computer as much as possible.  IF you need to be at the computer, then be disciplined:  Work for one hour and then rest for an hour.  If you do not rest your eyes, the condition can last longer, and you may develop Iritis in the other eye (the “good” eye)…this has happened to me before so I know it is true.

It is time to get away from the computer.  I’ll have more Art Photography posted here soon:  I have started a new Abstract series and I am enthusiastically hoping to show it here…when the eyeball permits.

 

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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 Attacks, Some Thoughts 16 Dec 09

Today, I just want to share a few more thoughts about Iritis. 

Why do I get Iritis?

That is one of the search phrases I see often from people who find my blog entries about Iritis.

With that said, and from my own experiences with Iritis, I propose that there is one main reason you may be predisposed to Iritis; that there is at least one main psychological cause that contributes to Iritis; and, one modern day activity that contributes to Iritis “Attacks”.  I say, “attack” because it feels like an attack on your eyeball.  If you have had Iritis, you will know what I mean.

So let’s begin…

  • There is one main reason that you may be predisposed to Iritis:  It is a secondary condition of another disease.  In my case, I have an Autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.)…a type of arthritis.  I am also positive for the genetic marker, HLA-B27.

According to an article in the 2004 edition of the “Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine”:

“84% of HLA-B27 positive patients with AAU [acute anterior uveitis] have other B27-associated diseases—specifically Reiter’s syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis.” 

Source:  The ramifications of HLA-B27 , by Nicholas J Sheehan MD FRCP

  • Main Psychological Cause:  DISTRESS

Yes, that is correct, I said “Distress.” 

Life is Stressful:  Stress is normal.  Some stress is even good for us – it keeps us on our toes, motivated and creates excitement.  HOWEVER, many people are better at coping with life’s psychological and physical stressors than others. 

Constant and overwhelming (continuous stress) causes DISTRESS – feelings of extreme worry, sadness or pain.    

Therefore, I propose that if you have a medical condition that causes pain a lot of the time, or, if you are feeling ‘extreme’ pressure from stress or sadness, THEN it may be possible that this distress assists in the outbreaks of Iritis. 

B27 Diseases + HLA-B27 POSITIVE + DISTRESS = VERY PROBABLY Iritis.
  • Main Modern Day Activity that could contribute to Iritis:  Continuous, Long-Periods of Focusing your Eyes at the Normal Computer Screen Reading Distance.

There is one thing that my Ophthalmologist tells me each time I pay him a visit with a new outbreak of Iritis: 

“You MUST NOT use the computer for the next couple of weeks, because you are focusing your eyesight too long ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN…at that fixed distance!”  [from eyeballs to computer screen – basically arm’s length distance

I’m not sure how scientific that statement is, but it seems to fit my situation quite perfectly because I notice that before I get Iritis, I’ve usually been spending extra ordinary time working at the computer, and usually feeling stressed about a project or…whatever.

In today’s world of computer-everything, we seem addicted to being on the computer, using the Internet, and staring at that computer screen for hours upon hours.  I propose that there could be a link between Iritis attacks and over-working your eyes while focusing on an object (i.e., the computer screen) at a rough distance of arm’s length.

My doctor’s advice for dealing with this is: 

“OK, if you have to work on the computer, at least get up and walk around regularly and relax your eyes from time-to-time, see things at other distances – don’t just continuously stare at the computer screen.”

I’m not a doctor.  I do not claim that any of my observations or advice are medically worth a hill of beans.  In other words, you don’t need to take my word for it. 

However, in my experience with Iritis, I know that being predisposed to Iritis via another B27 disease, having my share of distress, and long-term computer usage, I’m pretty sure it all adds up to my risk of getting new Iritis attacks.  What about you?  Does any of this sound familiar with your dealings with Iritis?

With this knowledge, I attempt to at least reduce my distress and reduce my computer usage – there’s nothing I can really do about the A.S., but I can do things to reduce the persistent long-term pain.

If you too suffer from Iritis, I wish you all the best.  Maybe you can keep a journal of the events you experienced and the activities you did before the onset of an Iritis attack.  This may help you determine which activities you can control, and possibly reduce the frequency of Iritis.  It’s just a thought.