Last OT day I posted about my tender, bloodshot, light-sensitive eyeball. Helpful COTHers told me to get to an ophthalmologist pronto, a sentiment echoed by my GP when I called her office.
Long story short, it was iridocyclitis, or anterior uveitis, which cleared up quickly with prednisolone drops. All clear on second visit.
The opth did tell me it might be autoimmune, which we won't know unless it recurs. Well, yesterday the OTHER eye started showing the same symptoms - ouchy eyeball and slightly sensitive to light. I called the doc and have an appointment next week. In the meantime I am to treat with the pred drops. It's already better.
I guess this answers the autoimmune question, and I am less than thrilled with that. I have NO other autoimmune conditions, nor do we have a family history.
What to expect? I'm 44; I know I can't stick with steroid drops long term.
(And a big middle finger to Humana, who sent me a curt little notice informing me that they want to stick me with the bulk of the doctor's fee on top of the $55 specialist copay. Needless to say I am going to dispute this).
I have RA which seemed to come out of nowhere when I was 57, ten years ago. Its been a roller coaster ride ever since and I also believe stress plays a major role. I'm in the care of a great immunologist and have learned to go with the flow, adjusting meds as needed and really taking advantage of the periods when I feel great its manageable if you're in the right hands.
Just the uveitis. I do live in GA but haven't had much in the way of any exposure to ticks.
It really came out of nowhere; I truly had no idea what was going on. Initial symptoms are so mild I thought it might be a result of sleeping funny or a blocked sinus. But it got worse over the course of about 9 days. At least now I can recognize early symptoms.
The deer ticks are so tiny that you probably wouldn't even see them. And you might not even know if you get bitten either. Is there a large hospital with an autoimmune disease clinic near you? Some place like the Orlando Mayo branch or Emory might be a good idea. I'm sure your doctor will have some ideas of what to do next. Hope you feel better quickly.
I am facing that road right now. I already have Hidradenitis suppurativa which they don't know if its an auto-immune disorder or not. A lot of people with HS also have RA and PCOS and Crohns. Anyway, in beginning of october I had a quick onset of symptoms. Joint pain in hands and wrists, loss of strength in arms, sore neck, headaches, muscle aches, and sleepy and just all over feeling like crap. Hasn't went away yet and I had a ton of bloodwork done and everything is normal including west nile and lymes. I show no properties of having any inflammatory problems. This summer I also had a colonoscopy due to I have had very loose bowels for over two years. Everything looked good so the GI Dr. just thinks it Irritable Bowel. My primary just referred me to a neuro and I go on monday. We will see. Everyone I have talked to thinks I need to see a rheumatologist. By the way im 30. So this stinks and I just want to feel better.
Good luck and I hope the dr answers your question!
Ditto seeing a rheumatologist - they have a much better grasp of the (arcane) bloodwork to run and what it all means. I was diagnosed a year ago with UCTD after seeing a slew of doctors who could just tell me "there's clearly something systemic going on here, but we have no idea what it is." Some rest when I'm feeling yucky and high doses of vitamin D have brought things closer to normal - I opted out of trying immunoregulatory drugs, since I'm not done having children yet. I know the frustration of not knowing what's going on, but keep arguing with insurance and if your current doctor isn't able to give you answers, ask for a referral to another specialty - I know I felt pushy and obnoxious doing all this, but I knew *something* was wrong with me and when I found the right doctor, it made all the difference in the world.
No medical background, other than living in a hospital centric village. However, I have sworn off colas and most sodas, after my SIL passed away from liver disease in her early 50's. And my sister, who is in her mid 60's, picked up autoimmune hepatitis about 10 or more years ago.
Both drank significant amounts of Coke/Pepsi daily. Sis will still occasionally grab a Coke, and I want to kill her when she does that. I used to love it, too, but never drank it to the extent she has.
Know this is no medical proof, but once I gave them up (also coffee/tea as a result of GERD), so many things have improved for me, including most aches/pains disappearing. Just think the stuff is terrible.
Good luck with your tests!
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes
Another thing to try is to go gluten free for a couple of weeks and see if you feel better. Not everyone does! I did, and my gastrointestinal symptoms disappeared; my joint pain disappeared gradually over six months or so. People who are sensitive to gluten, who are still eating wheat, can have lots of autoimmune problems. Also, I had developed Reynaud's in my toes about six years ago, which has disappeared since I began eating gluten free.
I happen also to have alopecia areata (I'm allergic to my own hair) and was shocked to learn that it correlates with celiac disease.
It doesn't hurt anything to try gluten-free for a couple of weeks, and you might learn it helps.
Mara, I was just at Mass Eye and Ear this past week, to see one of the leading Corneal experts in the world. He is just an amazing doctor and I was there because I have experienced something similar to what you describe.
It turns out I have Rosacea which can cause flareups in the eye. If they are not caught early, it becomes extremely painful. If the infection is not treated and reaches the cornea, it will "melt the cornea." That sure got my attention.
You might check ask your doctor if you have Rosacea, and follow a treatment plan for it. Good luck.
Agree with the person that suggested getting into a Rhuemy. They are the best at putting the pieces together. If you can't get a good internist. I suffered for yrs before a good internist finally put me on the right track to manage my autoimmune problems including getting in to a rhuemy
Can certainly do without melting corneas, thanks! Or with synechie, which is when the lens sticks to the iris. That can happen as well if you let uveitis go too long without treatment.
I did let the first episode go on for a while ( a bit over a week) just because it wasn't bad for several days and I really couldn't think it could be anything major (duuuuhhh, Mara, that's what doctors are for!) Over 48 hours it accelerated until I was squinting to avoid light and my eye was SO bloodshot and painful. The prednisolone acetate drops every 2 hours (at first) improved it 200% in about a day and a half!
I don't drink cola but am a coffee diehard.
I have an appointment coming up this week, and I'm sure the opthalmologist and I will discuss where we'll go from here. Thanks for everyone's input!
Another suggestion - although not related to autoimmune, but to eye strain.
My eyes had been more strained, and even bloodshot a couple of times this year. Thought it related to age.
I had a desk lamp with a nice soft ambient light bulb on my desk where I keep my laptop. Thought the bulb shouldn't really matter as most of my work on that desk involves doing work on the laptop. Then reading up online on how to prevent eyestrain, I tried the suggestion of replacing that nice soft bulb with a stronger flourescent. At first looked like he** to me, but have to say, it has really helped. And saves the pennies...!
Good luck with your appointment!
Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes