Robert’s Story

My name is Robert and I developed panuveitis approximately four years ago (March, 2003). This occurred approximately two weeks after I had had arthroscopic surgery to my right knee (as a consequence of a work injury). During this period I felt sick with what seemed like an upper respiratory tract infection. Then, all of a sudden, I just woke up one day and could not see out of my right eye (everything was cloudy with black dots and mild pain).

My local optometrist referred me to an opthalmalogist who diagnosed my problem as “chorioretinitis secondary to toxoplasmosis.” Initially, I was placed on a regimen of Bactrim and oral Prednisone. Over the course of about a month, this regimen seemed to clear up my vision. However, the problem was not cured. Instead, a few weeks later I developed a new episode of inflammation in both of my eyes (whereas, previously, I only had it in my right eye). Worse, yet, I lost my job (as a sales manager for a Fortune Top Ten corporation) because I was not able to return to work.

My current diagnosis is non-granulomatous panuveitis and I have been on a “topical steroid/taper off” regimen for the last three and a half years. In addition to the recurrent flare-ups of uveitis, I have also developed cataracts and dense vitreous floaters in both of my eyes.

Presently, (May, 2007) I can only see the “big E” with my right eye and I am now 20/60 in my left eye (best corrected). I also have to wear special magnifying glasses to read and a large screen monitor (with disability options) to use the computer. Nonetheless, some of my flare-ups are so bad that I can’t do anything at all except to just sit and “listen” to the television (I refer to this as my “suicide watch” time). Additionally, it can be very embarrassing during these times when I am out in public with my wife and I have to “tap around” with my foot to find the edge of a step or when I actually end up “missing” someone’s hand after they have extended it out for me to shake it.

Even on a “good” day, I have to rely on my wife to help me do many basic things such as shaving (I can’t see my beard stubble), sweeping (I can’t see the dirt on the floor), dressing (I can’t tell if my socks match or are inside out, etc., etc. Moreover, I am also missing out on many of the hobbies that I once enjoyed, like fishing, hunting, woodworking, auto restoration, and just playing “catch” with one of my three boys. In fact, it is this “loss of life” that has often made me extremely depressed.

In sum, I am very frustrated with this disease and my current “taper off/flare-up” cycle of eye pain and cloudy vision. Eventually, I hope to find someone who has a permanent cure for this disease so I can get back to living a normal life again.

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