OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it is kind of how I have felt these past two days. As many of you know, I haven’t had the most typical of experiences with Crohn’s disease. If there’s some bizarre way that Crohn’s inflammation can affect you outside of the digestive tract, it seems like it’ll find me. I’ve had the swollen joints and ankles, I’ve had skin rashes, I’ve even had these strange, bruise-like bumps that showed up on my legs for a while. And I’ve also had iritis.
As the name would imply, iritis is inflammation in the iris.It would usually start with some eye irritation, where it would merely feel like I had an eyelash stuck in there, but it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, my eye would become pretty irritated and I might have some blurred vision.
I’ve had this issue pop up a couple of times since my diagnosis, but I usually could just get some eye drops and it would clear up in a couple of weeks and not return. But around the time I started Tysabri in 2011, I got a pretty bad case that wouldn’t go away. It started around Thanksgiving and I was still dealing with it after my surgery in May. But about a month after my surgery, it completely cleared up and hasn’t caused an issue since.
That is, until Tuesday night. I started having some mild irritation, but nothing too bothersome. When I went to bed, I realized that it was very red and used some saline to see if they would help. When I woke up in the morning, I could immediately tell things weren’t right. My eye just hurt. It was giving me a headache and any light was making it worse. As soon as the office opened, I called my eye doctor and they were able to fit me in. He told me it was definitely a lot of inflammation, but thankfully it was only in the one eye (previously it had been in both). He said when he looked in there, it look as if it were snowing because of all of the inflammatory cells floating around. He prescribed me some steroid drops and dilated my eye yesterday to help stop the production of the inflammatory cells.
I went back to work afterwards, but the blurred vision from my eye and the sensitivity to light quickly gave me a headache. I left a few hours early because of it, but I had to drive across town to get my eye drops because my local pharmacy did not have them. Of course, I would have an issue where I can to get my eye dilated on the sunniest day in a month!
I had a difficult time getting around, because I was having to keep my right eye closed and even then, it was still hurting. I got home and I just went into the bedroom with all of the lights off. I eventually feel asleep for an hour or so, just to give my eye a rest.
Today, my eye is doing much better. That creepy picture of my eye is actually from this morning. Yesterday, it looked much worse. To the point that I tried to sweep my bangs in front of my eye any time I was near someone. And I also kept my sunglasses on when I went inside anywhere because I’d rather people think that I think I’m a diva than for them to see my gross eye ball.
The most difficult part of this is the realization that the inflammation is not completely gone from my body. I’m not sure if there was something recently that would have brought this on, or perhaps it’s coming from the part of my colon that is left inside of me. I’m not sure, but I’m working on getting some answers.