My teenage daughter has been diagnosed with an eye condition...
Q. My teenage daughter has been diagnosed with an eye condition called uveitis. Could you tell me what it is and what treatment is available?
A Uveitis is an inflammatory eye disease, which can cause blindness if left untreated. The more serious types of uveitis are responsible for about one in ten cases of blindness in England. The sooner it’s treated, the less likely it will result in permanent vision problems.
Symptoms include pain in one or both eyes, redness and blurred vision. Contact your GP immediately if you have persistent eye pain or notice an unusual change in your vision.
Uveitis affects people of both sexes, usually aged between 20 and 59, but it can also occur in children and teenagers.
There are three types: anterior, the most common and least serious, affects the front of the eye; intermediate affects the middle and usually occurs inchildren and young adults; posterior, which affects the back, is often linked to an underlying autoimmune condition. Pan-uveitis affects all three.
There are many possible causes which are usually divided into infectious and non-infectious. Tests are generally run but about 50 per cent of sufferers never discover the cause (idiopathic uveitis).
Most cases are mild and clear up quickly with steroids for non-infectiousuveitis, or with antiviral or antibiotic drugs if the cause is an underlying infection. It will usually not return. If it is recurrent or chronic, more aggressive drug treatment is needed to avoid blindness, and the side effects of long-term steroids.
Being diagnosed with a potentially blinding eye disease can bevery frightening, according to Nicki Davis, whose young daughter Olivia was diagnosed with the condition. Nicki set up the charity Olivia’s Vision (www.oliviasvision.org) to help sufferers and their families.
3 OF THE BEST MUESLIS
Even ‘healthy’ breakfast cereals can be high in hidden sugar, but none of these contains refined sugar, or added salt.
Calories per 100g: 375; fat: 11g (saturates 1.2g). Includes spelt, oats, barley, raisins, apricots, plus protein from nuts and seeds. Spelt is easier to digest than wheat so unlikely to cause bloating.
Calories per 100g: 326; fat: 9g (saturates 1.4g). Organic, with oats, rye, barley and fruits including goji berries and blueberries. Nuts, seeds and quinoa provide protein and it’s flavoured with cinnamon, which helps weight control.
Calories per 100g: 325; fat: 4.8g (saturates 0.8g). A nutritious mix of grains – wheat, oats, barley – and dried fruit such as sultanas and dates. Protein comes from brazils and hazelnuts.
Nutritionist Marilyn Glenville says: ‘Mueslis are better digested and more nutritious when soaked in milk or juice [even water] for 30 minutes before eating, or overnight. Eat with organic cow’s milk, or organic soya or rice milk.’ www.marilynglenville.com
FACTOR IN THE SUNSHINE
A quarter of British women risk skin cancer by not wearing sun protection, according to Macmillan Cancer Support (www.macmillan.org.uk). Apply a sun prep 30 minutes before going in the sun, between SPF20 and 30, let it soak in, then apply a second thick layer. Reapply every hour, and stay in the shade between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
IT’S ONLY NATURAL...
I have used homeopathy for years, for myself and my animals. Prescribed by a qualified homeopath, it can be extraordinarily effective, even in some cases of severe disease, as author and interior designer Lauren Vaknine, 28, bears witness: ‘I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis aged two. The only treatment then was steroids, which have significant side effects. After research, my parents decided that homeopathy was a better option, and it built up my immune system so my body could fight the disease. At 17, I had a bad flare-up and switched to conventional drugs. The arthritis spread to my joints and left me in a wheelchair. I returned to homeopathy and eventually walked again. Now I’m healthier than ever and I put that down to homeopathy.’ NB Always consult your healthcare professional if you propose using alternative medicine for serious conditions.