Unfiltered Story #216008

, , , | Unfiltered | November 19, 2020

Around when I was fourteen I started to develop back pain. I assumed the cause was due to labor intensive summer coupled with a large growth spurt had resulted in some malformation or damage to my spine. For several years I lived with regular back pain that would worsen on occasion with activity.
At seventeen, I was in a class that was using an old fashioned overhead projector. The bright light from the projector in an otherwise dim room was causing my eyes to hurt and water. I went to an ophthalmologist who found that my irises were inflamed and forcing my pupils to remain dilated, which is why light hurt them so much. She diagnosed it as an eye infection and gave me steroid eye drops to deal with it.
The drops worked, but the problem came back about after about eight months. The doctor said sometimes an infection can reoccur once or twice and gave the same prescription as before. This time the problem came back after 5 months, then three, then one, and finally it reached a point where I was taking the drops daily to combat the swelling.
Eventually the ophthalmologist recommended me to a specialist in eye disease and after a number of tests over several weeks he asked if I had any joint pain. When I responded yes he gave me a referral to a rheumatologist. The only one who accepted our insurance and treated juveniles was refusing new patients, but after my mom broke down in tears to her that I was losing my eyesight she consented to see me. At this point I was sitting in a room with no lights with the tv at its lowest brightness setting, and even that caused my eyes to water constantly.
The rheumatologist ordered some blood tests and was able to diagnose me with a autoimmune condition where the body attacks the tissue in between joints, and in 40% of cases the sclera of the eye. She gave me a shot of a powerful anti-inflammatory/immuno-suppressant drug and in a few days my eyes were fine.
In the end my vision decreased by over two points over a year and a half. The joint problems have worsened as I’ve aged, but thankfully my eyes have been fine as long as I keep up my medication.