Causes & Symptoms of Iritis

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.

 

DAY-3-IRITIS, EDIT B (via Behind the Lens)

I thought that I may re-post this blog entry – it may help other AS’ers see what iritis looks like, just in case you have never had iritis, or if you think you are having an iritis attack. This is my eyeball – this is what my iritis looks like after a few days. I’ve seen my photograph on many medical websites (many without my permission), but mainly, if it helps anyone make a general decision, “do I have iritis”, then you can seek medical attention quickly. DON’T WAIT too long if you suspect iritis!

DAY-3-IRITIS, EDIT B This is what Iritis looks like. This shot was taken on Day-3: Right now, I'm on Day-7, and it's getting worse I think. I'm putting this up here because I get a lot of people coming to my photography journal [ right here… ] who are seeking information about Iritis and it helps to see a good photo of what Iritis looks like, and this is it! IRITIS SYMPTOMS If your eyeball is having any of these symptoms, or if you have any of these conditions, the … Read More

via Behind the Lens

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.

DAY-3-IRITIS, EDIT B

Day-3 Iritis, Edit B, btl

This is what Iritis looks like.

This shot was taken on Day-3: Right now, I’m on Day-7, and it’s getting worse I think.

I’m putting this up here because I get a lot of people coming to my photography journal [ right here… ] who are seeking information about Iritis and it helps to see a good photo of what Iritis looks like, and this is it!

IRITIS SYMPTOMS

If your eyeball is having any of these symptoms, or if you have any of these conditions, then take it serious…"Listen" to what your eyeball is telling you (so to speak):
1) Eyeball is Feeling Painful.
2) Eyeball Feels Heavy/Sluggish.
3) If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis (like I have), or another Auto-Immune Disease.
4) If your eye is turning red (like this in the photo).
5) If your eye is VERY SENSITIVE to light.
6) If your eyesight is getting blurry or cloudy.
7) If your eye is feeling scratchy (like a sandpaper type of feeling).
8) If the affected eyeball’s pupil appears smaller than the other eyeball’s pupil.
And,
9) If the affected eyeball is sensitive (painful) to the touch (close eyelid and gently touch around the eye).

IF YOU HAVE ANY or all of these symptoms – YOU BETTER GET YOURSELF TO THE OPHTHALMOLOGIST ASAP!!!

If Iritis is left untreated, it can possibly cause Glaucoma or Blindness.

The Following is the Treatment for Iritis as I Usually Get Treatment (and this will probably vary depending on doctor and severity of Iritis):

Beginning Treatment:
1) Prednisolone Drops (4 times daily) [PRED FORTE – Prednisolone acetate 1% ]
2) Infectoflam (applied at nighttime) [NOVARTISA – FLUOROMETHOLONE 0.1% & Gentamiin 0.3% and other active ingredients ]

IF the pain continues and the Iris gets stuck (the dark pupil stays small even in dark conditions), go back to your doctor for more aggressive measures.

For me, the next step FOR TREATMENT will probably be…

1) Steroid Pills. These can and usually cause Gastritis (the rolling around on the ground in pain type of Gastritis). You may have to take something to protect your stomach when taking Steroid Pills.

2) The scariest treatment I’ve had FOR IRITIS, is a SHOT of Steroids directly into the eyeball. This is usually the quickest way that I know to start the curing process for Iritis, but it is also the most severe measure as well (that I am aware of).

Note of Caution – This is only an informational write-up on Iritis, IF you even suspect Iritis as a cause of your eyeball pain – GET TO THE DOCTOR TO SEEK OUT THE CAUSE AND GET A TREATMENT BASED ON YOUR SEVERITY OF IRITIS!

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU HAVE IRITIS:

1) GO to your doctor right away! Don’t wait if you suspect Iritis!
2) Take your meds on time.
3) MUCH REST!!! Don’t use the computer (like I’m doing right now, but this is important to me also, to share info…I’ll rest soon).
4) Follow up with your doctor IF the eyeball continues to cause you pain. You may need another plan of treatment.

Hope this helps anyone who suspects Iritis as causing your eyeball pain:  I have two other entries on Iritis here at Behind the Lens – if you do a search in my blog, you should find them.   For me, this is a recurring condition, WHICH I DO NOT ENJOY!

Good Luck!

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


——————-

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!