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Optic Neuritis
Apr 28, 2003
Hi everybody!! :wave:

I had to write this out before posting it because I have to remember everything I want to ask! So, sorry in advance for all the questions. :)

Maybe some of you have been following my story (and what a story it is!). But anyway, I'll tell you a little bit about me. For the past 18 months I have had very bad dry eyes and eye inflammation. The only thing that has helped is the use of strong steroids. My doctor diligently checks my Intra-Ocular Pressure at least once a week while I am on them. On April 22, my pressure was 30 in each eye. Normal being 20, I had to come off of all steroids immediately. Due to the high pressure I developed bad headache-type pain behind my right eye as well as very blurry vision in that eye. My doctor said that although my optic nerve does not appear to be inflamed, I am feeling pain and I have poor vision, so it must be. He diagnosed me with Optic Neuritis today. He says that there must be some inflammation that he can't see. The pain intensifies when I look all the way to one direction or the other.

Since April 22, my pressure has come down to 17 in both eyes now that I am off of the steroids. But the pain and poor vision remain. This is why he thinks I have Optic Neuritis. He says it takes about 2 weeks to go away on its own. The pain, as well as my vision are better when I first wake up in the morning. This coming wednesday I am going for a visual field test. He's already done several regular vision exams. I'm not quite sure what the test is called, but today he had me look at a series of larger circles that were filled with small circles of different shades of a certain color, and in the middle of these small circles is a large number, also made up of small circles of a color that is different from the one in the background. I hope I've explained this correctly! Anyway, if you have trouble seeing the number, that indicates a problem. I could hardly make out any numbers at all with my right eye.

As you can tell, I am very concerned. My doctor is also very concerned. Other than being near-sighted, I have never had any sort of vision problems. I have some questions to ask all of you. I will also ask my doctor these same questions when I see him on wednesday. (I thought of them after I left his office today! Figures!) Any advice or answers will be greatly appreciated.

Here's what I would like to know:

1. What if anything, can I do for the pain besides taking tylenol and using cold compresses?
2. Would taking an oral anti-inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen help with the inflammation of the Optic Nerve?
3. Does this ALWAYS go away on its own?
4. If my vision remains poor from this, can it be corrected with glasses or any other form of vision correction therapy? (As it is now, if I close my left eye, I can hardly make out the letters on the screen and I am about 1.5 feet away from it.)
5. Am I going to aggravate the condition by constantly looking all the way in one direction or by constantly moving my eyeball (that can't exactly be avoided!). Sometimes I find myself doing that just to see if the pain is still going to be there. "Does it still hurt? Does it still hurt?" LOL

and finally.....
6. Since the Optic Nerve is inflamed, and ophthalmic steroids are used to bring down eye inflammation, can they help with this condition? Can steroids help an inflamed Optic Nerve? (I know I am playing with fire here, seeing as how it was steroids that got me into this mess in the first place!) What about a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drop? I am already using Restasis which is for dry, inflamed eyes. But it takes a while to kick in.

Whew, that's all the questions for now. :) Thanks a lot everyone,

Elyse
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