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Beware the Dangers of a Topical Steroid

Throughout the IBD community, it is well known that there can be several manifestations due to having this disease. In my case, Crohn's disease has unfortunately caused a handful of eye complications. I've learned so much from my ophthalmologist about what to watch out for, medications I can/not take and how to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting my eyes.

There is so much one can to do prevent further eye issues, as well as treatment options to slow the progression of certain diseases. What I wasn't prepared for is my eye doc retiring! Who is going to check my eye pressures every 3 months? Who will educate me on medications? Who will give me the best care that I desperately need? The short of it is no one. I needed to be in the driver seat now, and find my new doctor.

I was already nervous, and a bit skeptical to have a new doctor. I admit, I didn't have the best impression of this much younger doctor, who cut me off at what seemed, every chance he got. The arrogance seemed to ooze out his pores. I went in for a lingering stye that just wasn't going away. He prescribed an ointment and I went on my merry way. Still not feeling confident about this new arrangement, I followed his orders and put the ointment on diligently every day. Within a week, I started getting headaches, seeing bright spots (floaters) and had moments of extreme blurred vision.

I made an eye appointment, but with a different doctor, at the same clinic. Right away, we connected because he LISTENED to me. He had read my chart, already knew I had Crohn's disease, and was ready to help me. He had a concerned look on his face and said, "Mmm, that's odd. I wonder why Dr. M (we'll call him) prescribed a topical steroid. It states very clearly in your chart, steroids in any form may cause high eye pressures." He immediately checked my eye pressures, and sure enough they were back up there at 40 (right eye), 34 (left eye). Not only that, but my stye had turned into a chalazion. We ditched the former prescribed medicine, and scheduled surgery to remove the lump on my eyelid.

Bottom line, make sure you're not only seen, heard. If you don't have a good feeling about a doctor, switch. Ask questions, and know exactly what's being prescribed for you. Don't assume they've read your chart. This one is hard for me to come to terms with. Isn't that part of their job? Be your own advocate, know your health history and ALWAYS speak up. Call right away if you're in pain, vision has changed, or if experiencing any other symptoms.

- Take charge and don't apologize for it

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