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Dr. Susan
Dr. Susan, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 218
Experience:  Board Certified & Fellowship trained eye surgeon.
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50 yr old W/F ....I recently had an episode with one eye that

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50 yr old W/F ....I recently had an episode with one eye that lasted about 2 weeks. During this time, it was extremely red and painful for any light to hit it, even with sunshades. My 1st dr visit to FP diagnosed pinkeye. After 6 days of treatment with antibiotic eye drops, and no change in my eye, I went to an optometrist, who had me sit in his office and do steroid drops every 15 minutes to decrease pressure in that eye which measured 52 when I first arrived. They allowed me to go home and continue drops every 3 hours. I returned the next day and pressure was down to 29. I was sent to ophthalmologist who after looking at a picture on my phone from the first couple of days of symptoms, diagnosed shingles and gave me Valyclor(sp) He also said I had a cataract that usually comes from taking large amount of steroids, which I've never done. My vision was affected after all this happened. The eye is now better, except puffiness and redness in inner corner. Any ideas on other causes?

Dr. Susan :

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Well this is a interesting case but hard to be 100% sure without a complete examination. It could have very well been iritis (inflammation inside of the eye) cause by the shingles. This would be especially true if you had some lesions on your face during or prior to this incident. With the history that you have given me we must also consider angle closure glaucoma (either chronic or recurrent) but this would cause some nausea, headaches, and change in vision. Another possibility is inflammation caused by a very advanced cataract that start to leak out its bag and into the front of the eye. This too would be unlikely because the treatment for it is removing the cataract as soon as possible and not waiting - which is what your surgeon has chosen to do.
As far as the other part of your statement-it is highly unlikely that you would develop a cataract after a few days of using steroid eye drops. It is true that steroids in any form can contribute to the formation of cataracts but in this short period of time- highly unlikely. You may have already had a cataract and now your surgeon feels that you would benefit from surgery.
The good news's that you arena longer having high eye pressures and seem to be back to normal. The next time it happens, if it happens again,please bypass the primary care doctor and the optometrist and go straight to the ophthalmologist.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I had no lesions on my face or outside of my eye but when ophthalmologist looked at picture on my phone, he enlarged it and showed me a lesion on my eye that I hadn't noticed. I didn't have a cataract in that eye 6 months earlier when I got my glasses. I did have one in my left eye and was told it was nothing to worry about. My vision in right eye after episode is 20/60 with my glasses on.
I am supposed to return next week to ophthalmologist to discuss removal of cataract in right eye. He wanted to let my eye rest from the recent inflammation and have me complete the valyclor (sp) I'm still using eye drops once a day in that eye for pressure.
He ruled out the angle glaucoma thing. Said my optic nerves (?) looked fine. That the pressure thing was a one time thing. He didn't think it was a recurring problem.
Can cataracts develop that quickly? Don't want to have surgery unless necessary but the vision loss is worrisome in that eye.

Thanks so much!
Everybody developed cataracts at a different rate. You may have had the beginnings of that which I suspect you did because the doctor had seen at six months ago in other Eye. This episode of inflammation and steroid use may have just pushed the cataract into becoming visually significant! As you know cataract surgery is elective so if you don't want to have it you don't have to have it. If you're doubting the diagnosis I recommend you get a second opinion. I actually like it when another doctor confirms my diagnosis and makes the patient have more confidence in my decision.

Good luck!
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