Medical Case of the Month
63 year old Caucasian male presents to clinic with a painful, red, light sensitive right eye which had begun 2 weeks prior. Due to the severity of the eye pain, the patient had gone to the ER prior to being seen in our clinic where an MRI was performed and came out clear.
Examination showed signs of inflammation inside the anterior chamber of the eye and the diagnosis of Primary Iridocyclitis (also known as Iritis) was made. The patient was started on anti-inflammatory medication along with medication to relax the muscles in the iris which helped resolve the condition over the course of four weeks.
Unfortunately, after discontinuing all eye medications, the patient returned to our clinic saying that his eye pain had returned just not as severe. Examination showed mild amounts of inflammatory signs within the eye. Due to the recurring nature of the condition, it was recommended that the patient have blood drawn and have several specific blood tests done along with starting the eye medications again. After reviewing the patient's lab testing and working with his primary care doctor, the patient was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of autoimmune disease typically causing joint and spine pain.
Normally, Iritis is an idiopathic condition meaning there is no known reason for the cause but, sometimes if recurrent, it can be related to an underlying systemic autoimmune disease. We will be monitoring the patient's ocular signs and symptoms of his autoimmune disease as flare ups in the eye can reoccur, but the patient will now be working with his primary care doctor as well for systemic treatment to keep this autoimmune disease under control.