Nora’s Story

In 1976, I was living in Zurich. It was late summer and I was planning a trip home to Minnesota to visit my family. For about a week, my right eye had been a little tender and slightly red in the outside corner. I didn’t think much about it. I embarked on my trip home, a long flight that took probably 10 hours. By the time I got home, my eye was completely bloodshot, but not too painful. The next morning I awoke to great pain and light sensitivity in that eye. We made an appointment to see our ophthalmologist who diagnosed Iritis and gave me prednisone orally and steroid salve, drops and atropine ointment. For the rest of my stay at home, my eye got a little better, but didn’t clear up much. When I returned to Zurich, I went to see an ophthalmologist who took me off oral steroids and gave me decadron depot injections. She also sent me to an internist who did every imaginable test and found nothing wrong with me. My eye did get better, but as soon as the injections wore off, the inflammation would recur.

In 1978, I moved back to Minneapolis and since them I have been “doctoring” for my uveitis. At first I took a lot of Prednisone, which never worked very well for me. Then I got a lot of injections. Then we changed to oral Dexamethasone and injections. For the last four years I have been taking Methotrexate either orally or by injection. Last November I had cataract surgery and since then my eye as been more prone to flares, so we are now trying to find out the right combination of Methotrexate and anything else to keep my eye quiet. For the last month I have been taking lots of Dexamethasone and it has been hard to go through. I’ve been tapering down and am now on 1 mg per day and a 30 mg injection of Methotrexate weekly. Cyclosporine is being considered as an addition to Methotrexate.

It’s a challenge to live with iritis/uveitis. For the most part, I can do whatever I want and I don’t miss much work because of it. I keep telling myself that there are much worse autoimmune conditions that I could have and I’m blessed to have two wonderful doctors taking care of me. I keep hoping it will burn itself out. In all these years, I’ve never gone more than one year with my eye being quiet. I have been tested and found to have the HLA B27 gene.

nora.dereli@mpls.frb.org

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