Iritis and Other Eye Problems With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Managing my eyesight with AS has been a journey filled with ups and downs. Thankfully, I have not experienced any permanent vision loss, but I have had to confront some challenging temporary vision issues. My first encounter with iritis happened while I was working in corporate finance. As an associate, my days were filled with analyzing portfolio numbers and preparing government documentation for new accounts. However, one day, I started feeling discomfort in my right eye. Initially, I dismissed it as fatigue from staring at the computer for long hours, but the pain escalated quickly. Soon, my vision in that eye became extremely blurry, and sunlight became unbearable for my sensitive eye.

Iritis – What is Anterior Uveitis? Doctor Explains

Concerned about my deteriorating eyesight, I visited the ophthalmologist, who diagnosed me with iritis. To alleviate the pain and inflammation, I was prescribed a high dosage of steroids in the form of eye drops and ointment. Having to administer the drops multiple times a day was quite inconvenient, especially at work. I felt embarrassed to take out the eye drops in front of my colleagues and preferred to find moments of privacy in the washroom or my empty desk to apply them. While it took time, the iritis eventually subsided, and my vision returned to normal. However, the condition recurred several times afterwards, each instance accompanying excruciating pain and heightened light sensitivity.

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It is crucial to promptly seek medical attention if you suspect you may have iritis to avoid potential vision loss. Upon diagnosis, your ophthalmologist will likely prescribe steroid drops to reduce inflammation, requiring frequent application throughout the day. The unpleasant aftertaste left by the drops was one of the most unpleasant parts of the treatment. Fortunately, the ointment, applied before bedtime, was more manageable, although it required caution to avoid getting it in my hair or on my pillow.

Dealing with iritis has been both a figurative and literal pain. However, faithfully following the prescribed treatment is essential in combating the condition and preventing its recurrence or long-term vision impairment. The fear of permanently losing vision in my right eye was a source of immense anxiety, making me appreciative of the timely treatment I received and the preservation of my eyesight. If you are currently grappling with iritis, remember that you are not alone. Do not hesitate to seek assistance from your doctor and support from those around you. No shame exists in needing a helping hand in the face of a challenging condition like iritis.

How can you determine when it is necessary to visit an ophthalmologist if iritis is suspected? Look out for the following symptoms: eye pain, discomfort, light sensitivity, blurry vision, redness in the eye, or swelling and inflammation around the eye. If any of these signs manifest, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. Your ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive examination and might order additional tests such as a CT scan or MRI to rule out other possible causes.

AS can lead to various eye-related issues, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and monitoring changes in vision. Remember, if iritis arises, there is no need to panic. Instead, seek medical attention promptly and diligently follow your doctor's guidance. With proper treatment, recovery is just around the corner.