Emily’s uveitis story
Why feeling anxious about your sight condition is normal
31 August 2022
Emily was diagnosed with uveitis and retinal vasculitis at the age of 21. She was close to losing her sight and experienced anxiety as a result of her condition. But thanks to the care of Moorfields, her eyesight is stable and she can now share her own advice with others.
Emily, 27, lives in Dorset, working for the NHS. She’s been a Moorfields patient since 2016.
Emily is passionate about promoting health awareness and the importance of regular eye tests for all ages.
The first warning signs
“In my final year at university, at the age of 21, I woke up one day with blurry eyesight and started to see blood in my vision.
I was admitted to hospital, and I’ll never forget being told that I was just a few days away from totally losing my sight.
I was diagnosed with intermediate uveitis and retinal vasculitis and referred to Mr Pavesio at Moorfields.”
What is uveitis?
Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea or uveal tract.
Uveitis is more common in people aged 20 to 59, but may happen in any age.
Symptoms of uveitis:
- eye pain (like a dull ache)
- eye redness
- light sensitivity (photophobia)
- blurred vision
- floaters (small shapes that move across your visual field)
- loss of the ability to see objects at the side of your field of vision
Most cases get better with treatment. However, uveitis may lead to further eye problems such glaucoma and cataract.
Moorfields made me feel safe
“Over the past six years, I’ve received the most amazing care from Moorfields.
Everyone, from the receptionists to the nurses, eye doctors and consultants, has been so reassuring which has helped me get through this.
I have regular check-ups at Moorfields and feel very safe in their hands. To think that I have received this level of care for free makes it even more special.
I know that everyone working at Moorfields truly cares for their patients.”
Symptoms aren’t always all physical
“Initially, the main symptoms I experienced were blurry sight in my right eye and blood in my vision. I also had some sensitivity to light and tension headaches.
Honestly, the main ‘symptom’ of this condition has been the anxiety that came with being diagnosed.
I still have floaters in my vision and my right eye has lost a tiny bit of vision, but thankfully, the treatments I am on are helping to keep my condition stable.”
Share your feelings if you can
“My best advice to someone who is going through a new eye diagnosis is to remember that feeling anxious and uncertain about the future is completely normal.
It’s really important to share your feelings if you have people in your life you’re comfortable doing this with. I also found a fab uveitis Facebook page when I was diagnosed and it was a lifeline to me as I got to chat to others who could relate and understand.
Trust the experts with your eyes and contact them if you have any concerns.”
If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self that this next chapter will be the hardest time of my life so far but eventually it would get better and, all in all, it will make me a stronger person.
Eye tests are important
“It’s so important to get regular eye checks, regardless of age. I never went to get eye checks and it wasn’t even something I knew about, but perhaps things may have been picked up before it got so bad.”
How you can look after your eyes
- Take regular breaks from screens
- Eat a balanced diet and if you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
- Seek help to stop smoking
- Don’t shower with your contact lenses in
- Follow the instructions correctly if you’ve been prescribed eye drops
- Get regular eye tests
If you are concerned about your eyes, please speak to your GP or optician in the first instance. They will be able to advise on whether you need more specialist care and refer you as appropriate.