Some good news, sort of!

Posted on February 20, 2009 by sonjabarrie

Well we were back at the specialist at 8:30 this morning, so I was not awake but at least I had drunk some coffee on the way there!

My eye thankfully has not been hurting quite so much but it is still very sensitive to bright lights and I’m still getting the occasional headache along with sharp pains above and around the eye area.

After examining the eye with horrible bright lights and putting the usual dye in there and looking at it with a blue light the Dr announced that the ulcer and dendrites had closed up. Hooray!!! but he was still worried as apparently my body is just not reacting to the medications the way it is supposed to or the way everyone else’s appears to. Yes I know, you’re all thinking you knew that there is nothing about me that is normal or the same as anyone else!

Apparently they have never had anyone react to the meds the way I do, he has no idea why my body isn’t responding the way it should, he thinks I may not be absorbing the medication properly or my body is just not accepting the drug, I told him I am a celiac which may or may not be the cause but either way he is keeping me on the high dose of Acyclovir, 800mg, 5 times a day (horrible stuff, makes me sick sometimes and really achy others but nowhere near as bad as Valtrex), instead of every 2 hours he has dropped the Viroptic dose to one drop 4 times a day (have to keep this stuff in the fridge which is a pain), and the Zylet drops are still twice a day. I now have to use some stuff called GenTeal Severe which should help the photophobia problems (no I’m not allergic to cameras it means the light hurts my eye!)

So, he said I shall have to be on these high doses for at least another couple of weeks and I am back to the Dr again next week and he was good enough to give me a letter stating that he the infection was bad enough that he did not feel I should be out of the country until it clears which means we will get all our points and money back from Delta Airlines thank goodness.

He also drew a picture of what the problem was this time and I scanned it in so you could get an idea of what happens to my cornea every time I get a flareup. Once the ulcer gets going it sends out dendrites that are tree shaped. As these beauties happen to leave scars each time and in different places in the cornea each time, you can see why I can no longer see out of my right eye. I’ve also put a description from a medical web site as to what a ‘Geographic Herpetic Ulcer’ is.

From The Merck Manual online Medical Library:
In pure dendritic herpes keratitis, the virus grows in the epithelial layer of the cornea and causes dendritic ulcers of a clearly defined and characteristic shape. These ulcers may enlarge and coalesce to form “geographic” lesions of an ameboid shape. Herpes simplex usually affects the corneal surface but sometimes involves the deeper layers of the cornea (corneal stroma). Stromal involvement is probably an immunologic response to the virus.

As with all herpes simplex virus infections, there is a primary infection, following which the virus goes into a latent phase in the nerve roots. Latent virus may reactivate, causing recurrent symptoms. Recurrences usually take the form of epithelial keratitis (also called dendritic keratitis) with tearing, foreign body sensation, and a characteristic branching (dendritic or serpentine) lesion of the corneal epithelium with knoblike terminals that stain with fluorescein. Multiple recurrences may result in corneal hypoesthesia or anesthesia, ulceration, and permanent scarring.

Actually I just think it looks like an alien got in there!


2 Responses to “Some good news, sort of!”

  1. Rob

    - 15th Dec, 10 07:12am

    I think I have something similar. Dendrites on my cornea that pop up every now and then… Feels like miniature kittens are under my eye lid scratching my eye. This is extremely painful. Steroid drops help for the temporary relief, but of course steroids to treat a viral infection can sometimes make the virus stronger… At one point I had dendrites in both of my eyes at the same time… Baffled my optometrist. Apparently that isn't supposed to happen. Whatever this weird eye thing is… it sucks 🙁

    Reply to this comment

    • sonjabarrie (author comment)

      - 15th Dec, 10 09:12am

      Hey Rob, I know how you feel. Having herpes in my right eye is bad enough but when the secondary infection hits and creates the dendrites, I’m with you. It Sucks. I had been taking oral Acyclovir to keep the herpes virus at bay in my eye but my system just couldn’t tolerate it, my white blood count went down to 72000 and I felt awful everyday of the 3 years or so I was taking it. So after battling the disease for what seemed like forever I went to the UK where they do a topical Acyclovir ointment you put in the eye. That is what finally calmed the virus down but I still get the occasional flare up of the secondary infection.
      You are also right about the steroid drops; they will stop the secondary infection but the virus LOVES steroids so it starts playing up as well! One of the great things about the eye ointment is it really does stop the virus from activating even when I am taking the steroid drops. If you ever get to the UK go see a cornea specialist, the eye ointment is not available in the US but you can get it in just about every other country including Canada and Mexico. As I have to go back to the UK to see family I get mine there.
      Good luck with your battles!

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