Gluten Intolerance and uveitis, episcleritis and iritis

by Connie Johnson
(Surrey, British Columbia, Canada)

This is my husband's story. Around his mid 40s, he started getting eye conditions called uveitis, episcleritis, and iritis. His eyes would go red and he said it felt like there was sand in them; so blinking was painful. He went to the doctor who gave him some drops for his eyes, which had steroids in them. He said he had a terrible smell and taste when he would use them, but they seemed to work at first; however, the conditions would constantly return.

After cycling through these 3 conditions for about 2 years he started to notice a very strange smell in his nose and said it smelled like rotting flesh (although I'm sure he really doesn't know what that smells like).

He would be fine for a few days and then voila, his eyes would be red again. I was very worried at this point as not only were the eye conditions never ending he eventually started to get nosebleeds that wouldn't stop.

He was given several rounds of antibiotics for this and it just wasn't helping.

I saw a segment on Oprah where they talked about neti pots, so I decided to buy one. Within a few days his nose issue healed and he never got the nosebleeds and the rotting flesh smell disappeared.

NOTE: Never buy the plastic squeeze neti pots, you are just putting chemicals into your nose. The ceramic pots are the best and you can disinfect them in your dishwasher. We should all neti our noses (just like we brush our teeth), it's wonderful.

Although his nose cleared up, he continued to cycle through the eye conditions. If we figured out the nose problem, we must be able to figure out the eye problem (because the doctors were just supplying prescriptions for symptoms). So I started reading about these eye conditions and stumbled upon a forum where a person said that they had these conditions, stopped
eating gluten and voila, problem solved.

Well, I was stunned! I knew this had to be it instantly as my husband's mother was diagnosed as having an allergy to gluten in her 50s (may have been her 60s). I also recalled that she too was having issues with her eyes (they would constantly water).

So we went off the gluten and he cleared up within the week. 3 months later no eye conditions.

Our GP had sent my husband to a specialist and when he returned to her for a followup appointment and explained to her what we did, she responded saying "well I wouldn't bother with the diet, you can just come to me for prescriptions."

We were shocked to say the least and did not follow that advice. Our GP, on the other hand, was very happy that we chose to tell him of our success. Our GP then said that he wanted my husband to take a blood test (which test, we were told, comes back as a false negative in 70% of men).

So back to eating gluten so he could take the test. The first day back on gluten my husband had a beer, fish and chips, the next day a burger, pizza (you get it) and not only did his eye condition return, he now got diarrhea (every time he would eat something with gluten in it).

He only lasted 3 days and knew he would have to stay away from gluten. The test came back negative, but our GP agreed the proof was in the pudding.

It's been over 10 years now and he only had the eye conditions once when he was eating nuts that were not gluten free (the coating on the nuts had gluten in it). He has been glutened a couple of times. His eye will turn red, he will get diarrhea, but it does not manifest in any of the eye conditions.

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Jul 22, 2018
How to manage episcleritis
by: Anonymous

I had acute onset episcleritis over 20 years ago and I have been working on managing it ever since. I have been to about 6 opthomologist MDs with a little advice here and there. Here is how I control the condition with almost no flare ups.
First, everyday, hydrate your eyes. I’ve used Genteel, Refresh, Theratears. Next I’m using Systane with nano technology to stay ahead of the curve.
Secondly, also use something for the lipid layer, like Soothe XP. No doctor will tell you about this.
On the rare occasions your immune system is down and you start to feel a flare up, immediately start taking an NSAID like Advil or Aleve. Keep Prednisolone drops on hand and use them sparingly until you are healed which will only take a few days.
You’re welcome.

Mar 30, 2018
Chronic use of prednisilone and sinus smell
by: Anonymous

I just want to share that chronic flares of uvitis and almost constant use of prednisilone eye drops has given me sinus problems, along with a stink coming from my sinuses along with sinus pain. I have restored my health- uvitis flare ups and sinus problem with a plant-based diet and elimination of caffeine and sugar. These changes also keep my rheumatoid arthritis from flaring up, so the changes have been well worth it!

Feb 22, 2018
painful iritis controlled
by: Anonymous

To Ridiculous - Yes extreme light sensitivity, pain down my cheek into my jaw, eye so painful I could barely lift my head and then long, protracted periods of applying steroidal eye drops over months only to start the whole process again in 3 to 4 wks time(which has its own potential complications, blindness being one).

I also had a minor "buzzing" or tingling in my mouth and nostrils - of course the eye doctor didn't want to hear about the mouth and the ear, nose and throat guy had no interest in the eye.

This went on for 5 years. I tried everything and nothing helped until one day I decided to try cutting out gluten. My acid reflux calmed down, the lining of my mouth calmed down and my eye never inflames.

If I get careless and have a beer or sandwich, I can quell the pending discomfort with a single steroid drop. No more protract periods, multiple times a day applying drops. Its pretty amazing, really. I've told no doctor, they simply think your nuts - as would I had I not had this experience.

Jan 27, 2018
I'm hoping this is true!
by: Anonymous

I too have been suffering from episcleritis/scleritis for a while now. The Drs cant seem to decide if its one or the other!

I started to investigate the immune system and was shocked to learn what certain foods are capable of. I did mention this to the Dr but he said NO.

So i'm going to try this on my own without their help as they don't seem interested in solving this, they just want to treat the symptoms.

Jan 21, 2018
Response to Ridiculous!
by: Connie Johnson

I don't know if the author of the comment titled Ridiculous will see this, but I want to reiterate that in no way was I suggesting that avoiding gluten took away the condition. It did not!

Many years have passed since we went gluten free and my husband has not had one episode of any of these eye conditions. We knew it could eventually cause blindness and after cycling through them for "years" as indicated in my original post, we wanted to figure out "why" it was occurring.

Cycling through antibiotics and steroid drops was not an acceptable solution to us. Our GP totally agreed that the conditions were caused as a result of eating gluten. The fact that he no longer deals with these issues is the proof.

The fact that after 3 months of eating gluten free and going back on for the test the GP asked him to take and within days of eating gluten tells the story. Our voices do not speak for our body, but symptoms do. You truly are what you eat and if you have a chronic condition it more than likely is the result of something you are eating or something in your environment. Yes it can be a genetic issue; however, it is worth it to do an elimination diet and see if a condition is connected to a food you are eating!

Aug 16, 2017
by: phyllis14

I had numerous flares of uveitis and saw the eye DR. and got the cortisone drops. It bothered me that I had this new condition...I had a lot of conditions and a naturopath told me I was gluten intolerant.(actually am celiac). So I went gluten free. All my pain body wide pain is gone as well as eye problems, CFS, fibromyalgia, sjogren's, rhinitis, anxiety etc. It was a miracle and I would recommend all people go gluten free to try to get rid of Uveitis and numerous other body issues caused by this toxin. There are over 300 health issues caused by gluten and if you can get rid of the ones that are making you miserable why not?? I feel so much better now and would never knowingly eat gluten again.

Jul 22, 2017
by: Anonymous

I'm sorry, uevitis/iritis may have something to do with gluten sensitivity (I came upon this page trying to find out), but this post is complete garbage. I have uveitis/iritis and have been being treated for it for 2 years, it is not JUST stinging red eyes, it is a specific, diagnosable and dangerous eye condition that will lead to blindness if left untreated (you would know if you had it, because after 5 days, you would be unable to open your eye because of light sensitivity and unable to sleep because of the pain). gluten-avoidance may help to prevent outbreaks, but once you have an outbreak, the only remedy is steroid drops or shots; it won't go away because you've cut out gluten.

May 12, 2017
Maybe this is my agony... !
by: Anonymous

I stumbled onto this blog when googeling ocular inflammation and gluten.. wham. This is 100% me. My eyeballs feel like they are burning out of my head. Red, splotchy, blurred vision, floaters.. burning gritty sensation 24/7. I cut out 90% of gluten and sugar 2 weeks ago and my back pain has eased way up. Im thinking a little longer and the eye pain will go away. You all are right that docs aren't interested in fixing the real problem, just covering it with meds!

Apr 10, 2017
episcleritis gluten free
by: janet

Hi, I am having all the eye symptoms written here in this forum. I too hav seen a fancy ophthalmologist who said that diet and arthritis ha absolutely nothing to do with it. Now, I have bulging wrist joints. Has anyone heard of. Dr. grain no pain book...comments welcome. Thank you

May 27, 2016
Gluten and uveitis
by: Anonymous

I am having the same condition as you but it doesn't hurt when I blink my eyes.

Symptoms: hazy, cloudy, floating dots, smear look. Bleeding (black line appearing for a couple of hours), Jumping tiny light in the center, white dots moving in the same path sometimes the light of two ping pong ball moving around the edge of the eyes when I close my eye in the shade.

My blood test IS positive latent TB treatment for two years with steroid methotrexate and eye drops. But the inflammation flares up one after the other - repeated minimum at least one a month.

The doctor took all the jelly out inside my eye (biopsy) to investigate the cause but they found nothing( No fungus, no TB, no bacterial and Lymes disease).

The symptom subsided when I tried sweaty exercise by jumping or eating vegetarian Then I went to nature practice medicine (not the Chinese medicine) she told me to try going gluten free and it worked like magic.

Feb 19, 2016
Similar experience
by: Kent

I read your article and it was exactly my experience.

I first had eye flare up aged 45. It was treated as an emergency with heavy steroids and did not return until exactly a year later more steroids put it bay for a year.

When it happened again, I was investigated for every autoimmune condition possible. Blood tests showed elevated crp and esr but nothing specific. I did state to doctor I felt my condition improved when I didn't eat wheat and milk however doctors gave me a blank expression. And were only interested in giving a non-steroidal treatment for a while and then a steroidal treatment when it was bad.

This went on for 3 years of agony, painful red scleritis until it was alternating between eyes every 2 weeks. Doctors simply are not interested in solving problem.

The first time I had it I wrote down what I had been eating and it was lots of cereal, croissants, bread, hot chocolate, soup -typical winter fuel. And if I overdose on such foods it does appear to set off a sceleritis flare within 24 hours.

Why it started in mid 40's I don't know. I started swimming regularly and I'm suspicious of all the chlorine absorbed as there does seem to be some connection but not sure exactly what. Will update with non-gluten diet progress.

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