Iritis – a possible cure?

Okay so this is a bit of an over the top title, but I was hoping to attract attention because this might just help you, as it has me over the last year.

First things first though. What is iritis? If you have it you probably know all too well, but in short form, it is:-

  • Swelling of the iris in the eye
  • Caused by your immune system attacking your own body (auto-immune issue)
  • Can be caused by a million different thing

I first started getting iritis about 3 years ago, and was getting it increasingly frequently until recently. I have been tested for all the usual suspects, genetic markers and even some forms of deseases I would have hated to have told my girlfriend about. All were negative.

Each time I got iritis was pretty much the same. I had a cold or viral infection of some kind, fought it off, then my immune system seemed to look for other things to sort out, which was usually bits of me! I always got a big ulcer in the roof of my mouth, followed by iritis about a week or so after the ulcer. This could be a good few weeks after I’d originally been sick.

To sort out iritis when I got it, I did the usual. Drops to dilate the pupil, and steroid drops to sort out the problem. Uncomfortable, annoying, and potentially giving me cateracts way before I want them.

In the last year I have managed to avoid iritis completely, and with very little effort. I read an article on immune disorders saying how good Yakult like drinks were (you know the lactobacillus little drinks you get in the shops). Since then I have been taking those. This may be a complete fluke, but I am convinced it helps. When I start getting the ulcer, I up my dose to 2-3 bottles a day, and the ulcer goes, and no iritis.

By the way, I also tried the powder in the bottles, but this didn’t seem to work as well.

Anyway, if you are reading this. Please give it a go. It has helped me.

If it does the same to you, please put a comment in this post as I would like to pass it on to any researchers who are interested.

*** UPDATE Feb 2nd, 2020***

I have just read this article https://www.slashgear.com/study-finds-diet-tweak-may-calm-down-an-overactive-immune-system-04608470/ which sites a study at https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/vari-dim020420.php.

This study is in early stages but implies that reducing eating animal products, meat, eggs etc may help calm inflammation and improve autoimmune responses and should therefore help iritis.

I would encourage you to contact the authors of the study in case they are moving on to human testing, but to try the relatively simple diet change yourself.

It’s worth noting that this has been a recurring comment from way back on this post.

306 thoughts on “Iritis – a possible cure?”

  1. Hello all. I’m 27 and an currently suffering from my first case of iritis. I got misdiagnosed with viral conjunctivitis and now I’m being referred to an eye specialist. My ophthalmologist I was seeing was treating me with Durozol steroid drops and ketorolac every six hours + dilating every twelve and it’s not getting better. I’m going in two days to a retina specialist and I’m really scared. My vision was 20-20 and now it’s 20-70 but I don’t know if that’s because of being dilated. And my good eye has a floater in it which worries me. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Brittany
      Sorry to have taken so long to reply. It sounds like you might be a bit light on the drops to me. I’m not sure of that particular brand, but I was using the steroid drops every hour. It might be worth checking to see if you can up your dose. I was using Prednefrin Forte btw. I tended to have a big dose to start with, then gradually reduced it over about a month.
      Don’t worry too much about your vision in the eye being treated for the moment. The dilating drops play absolute havoc with your vision. Mine took probably 2 months to recover fully, but were noticeably better after a few days of stopping the steroid drops. I seem to remember a lot of floaters too. I’m older than you though so you tend to get those more as you are getting on a bit! I’m guessing its because the focus of that eye is so messed up that you just notice these things a lot more though. There’s a good chance that this is also a result of the healing process, but I would check anyway.
      Hope you are feeling a bit better though, and again sorry for the late reply.
      Simon

  2. Late to this blog but wanted to let poster Wendy know I saw Dr Grant Raymond in North Adelaide for many years, took good care of me.

    1. Thanks Claire, I’ve passed your doctor on to Wendy directly too. It’s great to get recommendations as it seems like it’s one of those things that really needs someone with a bit of experience.
      Simon

  3. The bad news – I have iritus today – the good news, it’s been my first episode since November, 2013. Well over a year, when previously it was happening every three months.

    My eye lubrication routine (see above) was keeping things in check, last week I got a bad flu and a cold sore. Although the cold sore was under control quickly with prescription Zovirax, obviously not quickly enough.

    I have an appointment with my competent eye doctor tomorrow, and it’s back on the steroids for a few weeks, darn. Maybe I have to kick things up a notch and buy blueberry pills.

  4. Hi,
    I’ve had iritis for 15 months non stop in both eyes. Every time I try to reduce the drops it flares up. I have cataracts starting in both eyes and now high pressure in both eyes. Doctors say the drops or the iritis could be the cause. I’m 38 and am so frightened about what will happen to my eyes and sight if they don’t get better soon. I have 2 sons aged 2 and 4 and yes I’m tired. I also lost my dad 4 years ago. So probably am more stressed than I realise. I will try the probiotic and look into the amino acid thing. I need to find a cure. Thanks for all your posts and to the man running this site. It’s such a relief to find others who understand.

  5. Thanks so much for drawing my attention to this. I’m on my third bout of Iritis, and, as per usual, I have a cold virus to go with it. I will definitely give Yakult a go.

  6. Thanks very much for sharing on your blog, so many sufferers and sad tales 🙁
    I have had the red devil on and off for around 6 years, mainly an annual event for me. I too think iritis is one of those things that has multiple triggers which you have to find and control.

    Like to share something I think works to keep it at bay if you are in the same circumstances. As an I.T. person I would spend inordinate amounts of time in front of a computer screen, and I would have one eye start to play up – with all the iritis symptoms beginning to appear. By enforcing an eye break, where I step away from the machine, and actively change my focus, go outside in the fresh air etc. I found that I could prevent and control the onset of these. I would have a mirror on the desk for regular eye checks, as sometimes I just wouldnt be able to tell if one was on its way. On one occasion it had kicked off and was pretty much about to go nuclear – but I managed to check it and control it without any nasty chemicals, just by stepping away, and putting a hot balloon on the eye for a few hours. So I think eye fatigue and lack of lens exercise can be a factor. In this day and age we do spend a lot of time staring at fixed distances.. especially during long telephone calls..;)

    I have also had iritis triggered by cold viruses, when this happens I have had no solution, but I am going to try the yakult approach and add it to the arsenal of weapons in the hope that this sorts that trigger out.

    Wishing everyone success with whatever works and finding your own triggers.

  7. For those of you who wish to try Yakult but unable to locate it in your local supermarkets, they can be purchased at Costco under the brand name Cool Plus in the refrigerated foods section with all the same ingredients of the Yakult brand and in the same serving size. I have also seen them at the major 99 cents Only store chains in California under another brand name and fruit flavored ingredients and manufactured by the same company as Costco’s Cool Plus brand..

    By consuming one serving BEFORE my afternoon and in particular my evening meal, my acid reflux dilemma has virtually disappeared.

    If you are on any antibiotic meds, you may want to space out in several hours your consumption between the probiotic and the antibiotic so they don’t contradict each other.

  8. Hello everyone:
    I am a 55 year old female and am having my 3rd occurrence of iritis. My flare ups seem to be coming about every 18 months. This current flare has been going for 2 months and still isn’t clear. I’ve read many posts here and I believe that stress is a major contributor to iritis. My ophthalmologist disagrees. I am a high school teacher and this flare up happened just as testing was going on which was stressful. I have been caring for my aging parents this summer again- very stressful ( mom had major surgery). We lost our son 8 years ago which changed me completely! I am a stressed person. I am going to try to do an anti-inflammatory diet to see if that will help. Also I’m going to try Yakult. To Laila, I will pray for you! I can’t imagine the difficulty you are having! Thank you Simon for this blog where “sufferers” can relate.

    1. Hi Angela
      I hope the food diet goes well. Hopefully you’ll find like me that once you have sorted this out, you won’t get another occurrence for a long time like me.
      I keep saying this but I must shift this over from comments on a blog to something more private where we can really talk to each other.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment too.
      Simon

  9. I was recently diagnosed with iritis. As I read this blog, I see that it may not be my last. I have the usual symptoms but also extreme headaches and sleepiness. I have to take several naps a day. This is so unlike me. I was wondering if this is associated with the iritis. Now I fear I have it in my other eye as I have burning sensation and a little redness. I do not know if the burning sensation is due to overuse of the eye because of the iritis in the other eye. I am trying to figure out why I came down with iritis and all I can think of is possible stress and the fact that I have a buckle on that eye due to retinal detachment. Any thoughts out there?

    1. Hi,
      It sounds like you are similar to me. I was so tired when I had it that I actually fell asleep sat in front of the doctor. He thought I had fainted I think, but I had actually just fallen asleep. I was also extremely weak which is again very unlike me.
      I would love to get others opinions on whether previous injuries have an effect on iritis. As it happens I got hit in my ‘iritis eye’ twice with a squash ball. Both times I ended up with a completely black eyeball for some time. I also remember getting a good poke in the eye from my toddler son just before my first episode. Anyone else had a similar experience?
      I would try not to worry too much about the other eye at the moment. My other eye got a bit sore and tired too. I tended to use normal drops in that one. Keep checking it, and get your doctor to check of coarse, but from my experience the other eye did suffer a bit too.
      Cheers
      Simon

  10. I too am an iritis sufferer for the last 30 yrs. Had all the tests and my dr thinks it is herpetic iritis as no other cause found. I too suffered from hemorages in the eye from the predforte use and found that Rutin helped considerably. I take one capsule a day and the hemoraging has virtually stopped.. I was experiencing about one hemoraging episode every ten days and am now down to one episode every two or three months, if that. Hopes this helps. Still on Predofrte drops twice a day as it never completely goes away.

  11. Simon, my eye doctor says that trauma to the eye is a documented cause of iritus. (Called, sensibly enough, traumatic iritis.)

    Has anyone used or heard of using low intensity light therapy to prevent iritus?

  12. Dear simon.

    I was in Devonport when i had a bad case of Iritis or Uveitis i think that is how it is spelt.

    I was on holiday the first two days not know what it was i sort of thought to myself oh probably conjunctivitis i have had some cases of that from time to time. So when i got to the 3rd day not being around my normal medical support system i thought i go to the chemist to see if they could do something about it. They advised me that it is best to see a GP and or eye specialist. Well the pain was unbearable so i tried to find a a GP etc to be told we do not take on new patients.

    So i ended up going to the Hospital to emergency i could hardly open up my left eye. They told me i had goo eye something like that and gave me some ointment and sent me on my way with an appointment to see a Eye Doctor in the morning.

    Got to the Eye Doctor who said the Hospital had given me the wrong stuff that i had Iritis and gave me two drops and another ointment to cost around the 80.00 mark.

    This was not going away and reading some information about it i notice most people had it only for about 48 hours till i saw your blog and started to get so much information it was incredible.

    For two weeks i was in total pain i have lost my vision and could not see was very blurry and then i tried the Yakult 3 times a day within two days of having it my eye was coming good.

    I am now in the process of being back in Adelaide waiting to see a Eye specialist to work through why i had this.

    I just wanted to write to you for one to thank you for your blog. Two: to let you know maybe a trial could be a good idea to see if stuff like Yakult is in fact helps in Iritis.

    1. Hi Alison,
      Sorry not to have got back to you for so long. I must admit that I missed your comment coming in and only just picked it up now. I hope your eye is feeling a lot better. I know your pain in the initial stages too. I had the same problem. Another one to watch is once it’s over, if you get something like conjunctivitis they tend to give you the drops for iritis again so the next thing you know you have a fully dilated pupil which takes ages to get back to normal again. The drops for that are Homatropine, so that’s one to watch for too.
      It’s good you mentioned trials. I would love to see some official studies done. That’s the reason I have never made this post more private. I was really hoping that a doctor will pick it up at some point and do some proper clinical tests. My guess is that it will work in some cases and not in others, but even that would make it worth a try for most people.
      Anyway, hopefully you have yours under control now. From memory there’s a good doctor that someone recommended in Adelaide, so let me know if you are having troubles and I will try and find them again.
      Cheers
      Simon

  13. I have dealt with iritis flare ups for the past 18 years. For some reason I have not had a flare up for over a year now. When I did have a flare up I would suffer as long as possible because I didn’t want to spend the $100.00 for the steroid drops. I also would find myself going through the medicine cabinet like a drug addict to find an old bottle for relief. Nothing like the feeling of getting stabbed in the eye over and over again and feeling like a vampire when it comes to light. I have read honey put into the eye helps with the inflammation but haven’t gone there yet. The last time I had a flare up I went through a bottle of Predforte and still had the flare up so the doctor prescribed Durezol. Here is a list of my daily supplements. I say anything that helps with your autoimmune system is a plus.
    Fish Oil, Lysine, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Beta Alanine, Multi Vitamin, Magnesium Zinc Calcium, Taurine, D, B12, and DHEA.
    I take a few of these because I’m a runner with a shattered leg with screws, plates, and arthritis.
    If I took a guess the DHEA, Fish Oil, and Lysine have fought off the flare ups.

  14. I just want to thank everyone for your comments. I too am suffering from Iritis (3 diagnosed episodes over the course of 8 months. I find relief in knowing there are others experiencing the same challenges I am in terms of understanding how to prevent flare ups. I recently had my blood work done and waiting on results in hopes for some answers. In the meantime, I will try some of the recommendations I have read from all of you.

  15. its good to hear everyones storys. My uveitis is apparantly caused by a particular gene, B27 something or other. I have had it permanently for 2 years now. Everytime i get down to one steroid drop a day it will come back strong within about 5 days.

    Strangely enough i do seem to have a little ulcer or something permanently on my gum at the front of my mouth. wonder if this could be something???

    No one who has not had it can understand how worrying it is when you feel it coming back as wee all know what the long term steriod usage will mean.

    I have been trying anti-inflammatory foods etc for about 3 years now and sadly doesnt seem to help me. Really wish it did.

    Perhaps there is no cure if you test positive for this gene????

  16. So glad to find this blog. I think I have iritis. Going to eye Dr tomorrow for sure. I have chrohns disease have taken imunosuppressants for 5 years. Am now going off those med and now my eyes are being affected. I really believe huge doses of probiotic are the key to helping all inflammatory disease including iritis. The best are refrigerated ones at the health store. Also eye drops of euphrasia or herb brite eye reduces inflammation.

  17. I have had bouts of Iritis since November of 1985. I live in North Florida and my first bout was about 6 days before my home was hit by my first ever hurricane (Kate – 1985). It interests me that many here seem to think stress could have something to do with this. When the NWS draws a line repeatedly over your home as the path for a major storm and you have not as yet lived through one of these, your stress goes up especially when the date they expect the storm is a week before Thanksgiving. Every time I went on the drops steroid and pressure as my pressure goes up (I understand from my doctor that many folks have the pressure go down – I am not sure of this however) – in about 4-6 weeks I was off the drugs and good to go for another year or two. This time seems to be different. I have gotten down to the one drop a day and it comes back with a vengence. I think that this might have started when I started taking an antibiotic for my trip to Africa which of course caused my flora to die off as well – it is interesting that many here put a lot of store in probiotics – the fact that this might have started after taking an antibiotic sure makes me wonder. I am off to the store for a high end probiotic – Yakult has WAY to much sugar for me so I am going to find something that does not have that problem.

  18. Hi, my name is Jason.. I am glad to have read some of the stories that many of you have written and I would like to share my own. I have suffered iritis in both eyes since 2010. All my tests have come out to be negative and my doctors believe it to be idiopathic. I’m thankful in a way that it is only anterior at the moment, but fear that it could progress to something worse. I try to eat healthy for the most part and exercise at least 4-5 times per week. It drives me crazy not knowing what could be causing my flare ups. Recently, I’ve been getting more flare ups than usual, and have become more concerned about my eyes. I’m going to try out Yakult and see if that helps any. Thank you for sharing all your stories and I hope one day, that we will all be iritis free!

  19. Hi, I’ve just come across this blog and am so pleased to have found it. Thank you to Simon who started it and everyone who has commented. It gives a lot of comfort to know that I’m not the only one going through this and that others have found ways to beat the flare ups. I hope that I, and everyone, can find something that works.

    I have had iritis flare ups for around 12 years (I’m 41) and I have the B27 gene which I think means there’s no underlying treatable cause and I am just prone to it. I have had some really severe flare ups in the past requiring injections in my eye (usually it’s the right eye that’s affected, I’ve had it in the other eye occasionally but always very mildly) and huge doses of steroids by mouth in addition to the eye drops. My flare ups tended to happen once a year, always starting in the autumn/winter (so between Oct-Dec) and needing three months of treatment.

    In the past two years they have been happening more frequently and I have had back to back episodes twice – one around December, then the next in Feb/Mar just as I have finished the course of steroid eye drops. They are still bad, but not as severe as in the past, as I have a great consultant who will see me same day if possible when I have a flare up and I have a stash of drops at home that I can use straight away. However, I’m pretty much on drops all the time now! I have been on a maintenance regime of one drop a day in both eyes for a couple of years but I have no idea if this does anything. Until a couple of years ago my eye pressure always went down with flare ups, but now the steroid drops make it shoot up and last year was a nightmare with finding the right drops to keep the pressures under control.

    I am desperate to find something that will stop these flare ups. Mine tend to be triggered by a cold, but how do you stop getting colds! I am permanently worried and stressed about my eyes to the point that I often can’t sleep and thinking and worrying about it feels like it’s taking over my life. Often it’s all I can think about so I can’t concentrate at work properly and feel like I’m being cheated out of really enjoying family time at home as I just feel down about it. I’m sure part of the answer is for me to learn to cope with it better and not imagine that the worst will happen but that’s so hard when you’re having to cope with flare ups, eye pressure etc and have no control over it.

    I have started to look at alternative therapies to see if anything will help. I’m giving homeopathy a go but not sure if I really believe it will help. From what I have read, here and elsewhere, I think going down the diet/supplements route would be better. At least there is a clear link between what goes in the body and how it reacts.

    I take cod liver oil capsules, and also vit C as my consultant says that there is evidence vit C can help prevent cataracts. As well as the iritis I am incredibly short sighted (prescription in both eyes around -12) so that makes me more at risk of cataracts and other problems in the future as well. I have worn contacts for years but all the eye drops and constant flare ups are making it harder for me to do so. I’ve asked about laser surgery but my consultant has said don’t even think about it unless I’ve been clear of iritis for 5 years. That would be a dream!

    I will try taking Yakult. I’m also seeing a nutritional therapist in a few weeks who specialises in autoimmune stuff and has seen people with iritis before. I hope she can help. I’ve been on thyroxine (for underactive thyroid) for about the same time as I’ve been having iritis so maybe there’s a link. And perhaps by getting my thyroid back on track will help with the iritis.

    If anyone is still looking at this blog I will keep you posted.

  20. Since I first got Iritis I have read a lot about it, but found this blog brilliant, well after seeing the specialist at the hospital and she suggested a lot of what has been advised above, but the best thing ever was Yakult!, when I felt the symptoms coming on I took to the bottle one every 4 hours for 3 days, yes the bowels did become more healthier than normal, but guess what, the Iritis subsided within 24 with the eyes less red, the pain/bruising feeling felt better after each bottle taken, I then went down to 2 bottles for 2 days and then back to my normal 1 a day!, do not know if this is co-incidence or as Simon said a cure, but will certain do this again as and when the next flare up comes!

    1. Hi Lynne
      I’m glad you found the same as me. The way I controlled it was that if I felt ulcers starting in my mouth (which was my first sign I was going to get iritis), I would dose up on Yakult, usually within a couple of days, the ulcer started going. Over time I would take a Yakult a day, but to be honest these days I very rarely have one as my Iritis has settled down.
      I hope you find the same as me. Let me know how you go though. Thanks for posting too.
      Simon

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