Dear all

Happy New Year to you all.

Been a while since I posted. Everything appears to be going well in general, with the soreness more some days than others, but generally coping well, that is until today.

Just been for my two year eye check and to my horror been told I have the start of cataracts. I thought she was taking a long time to test me, 1.5 hours. She said she suspected it had something to do with the steroids that I was taking!!!! You can imagine, after the initial reaction to cry, but fought it back and thought I just have to discuss it with you all.

Has anyone else had/heard of this before and does it have anything to do with GCA??? Really praying not.

Thank you all my comforting shoulders.

Lorraine xx

11 Replies

  • Hi Lorraine,

    Yes unfortunately, been there, got the t shirt blah, blah, blah.....cataracts can be a side effect of the Pred, not GCA. But please don't get in a panic about them. Its another thing you could do without, but it is what it is, and they can be operated on very easily.

    Mine developed a couple of years into treatment, and as I only have one eye anyway (one lost prior to diagnosis) I was mortified. And how ironic that the Pred which saved my good eye, then gave me cataracts and raised glaucoma levels - you couldn't make it up could you!

    Anyway, after about six months of monitoring by the local eye clinic, and my nagging because I was due to fly to New Zealand for 6 weeks, the cataract was replaced in my good eye in August 2014 - what a difference.

    The actual op only took about 20 mins, no pain involved, with about a hour beforehand for prep, and an hour afterwards just to make sure everything ok. Then a month of eye drops, and everything super.

    The worst bit is actually waiting for the op as your eyesight deteriorates, there's no pain, but just inconvenience really.

    So please don't worry and take care.

  • It has nothing to do with GCA and it is probably a lot to do with the pred. Pred itself can cause one type of cataract but if you already had the beginnings of a "normal" common-or-garden cataract (they are different in structure) then the pred can increase the speed with which they progress. So it has just happened a bit sooner.

    These days there is little to be upset about - you used to have to wait until they got really bad but I don't think that is the case these days, they operate as soon as they are interfering too much with your day to day life. They remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one - it's a simple op. Usually they ask if you want to be able to see distance or close with the implanted lens - and then you need specs for the other. Once the first has been done and they know it is fine they book you in to do the other if it needs done.

    In fact - if you want to pay the cost you can now have "variofocal" implants! My mother in law (well over 20 years ago) got 2 slightly different dioptre lenses, theoretically it is possible to have one short-sighted eye and one long sighted and then you often don't need specs at all once your brain gets used to it, but she decided she didn't like it and got specs to wear all the time. I did the same thing with contact lenses for years and I found it worked very well. Everyone is different.

    I know I'm a bit nuts - but I'd welcome cataracts! I've been very short sighted all my life - first thing on in the morning and last thing off at night is my glasses! With cataracts I could be long-sighted for most of the day and just have reading glasses - oh joy! After 5 years on pred there was no sign last time I had them checked.

    So - no need to panic. Since she knew you were on pred I assume she did an eye pressures test too? The little puff of air onto the eye? Or something touching it?

  • No, nothing to do with GCA, at least not in my case. I have a diabetic retinopathy yearly and the last one found incipient cataracts, but they are not affecting me in any way as yet. Due for my usual appointment for the retinopathy in the Spring and my usual in-depth eye test in the summer. I really don't expect anything to have changed.

  • Hello

    I just wanted to ask where you have an in-depth eye test; is this part of your hospital treatment or do you go to a local optician? I have been doing the latter but wasn't really satisfied with my last test and would like something more thorough that takes my GCA into account.



  • I'll PM you Maria.

  • Thank you all, I feel so much better. Knew I would once spoken to you all, will get some sensible no nonsense reply. Silly I know to panic, it is what it is, so best to deal with it, but unfortunately it is that jerk reaction most people get on receiving not so favourable news.

    I really meant no disrespect to those that have GCA and hope it wasn't taken that way, but just have greater admiration for those that cope so bravely with something that terrifies me.

    thanks once again for your assistance xx

  • I developed cataracts five years into taking prednisolone and was told that though the steroids could have accelerated the development of cataracts they would not have been the sole cause. At that time I had no symptoms of GCA, they developed much later. Please don't do what I did: I was so scared of the operation, as I have little sight in my right eye and was terrified of losing what I had in my left so I delayed the operation until I could barely see, using expensive quack drops from the internet - to no effect. Finally, I was persuaded by an eye surgeon, who was a good psychologist, to have the operation first on my weakest eye so that if anything went wrong there would be minimal effect. When I had had the very simple operation and saw the difference it made I couldn't wait to have the left eye done. Now nearly ten years on

    and despite developing GCA - which had nothing to do with the cataracts - my eye sight is still much improved. So please don't worry and don't delay having the operation when you are told your eyes are ready.

  • thank you so much Maria, it helps so much hearing such promising reports from people that have already gone through it. Have had a headache since yesterday, which I know for a fact is stress, but it is beginning to subside with all these helpful replies.

    Only problem now is I am now beginning to question whether the lights are too bright and was that there before! Funny how something you didn't know you had now becomes the bee all and end all of questioning what you thought you knew previously.

    I've borrowed my partners car today to come to work and he said yes darling of course you can use the car, but should you really be driving??? Go figure, last week he was only too pleased for me to drive, lol.


  • Hi don't worry I have had two cataracts removed and it is a simple procedure quick with no after effects. Good luck

  • I guess it depends on your age, if your close to 70 it is perfectly normal. I am 66 and will need mine done soon. When I was in for my yearly check up he told me I was almost there, and if they begin to bother me come in before my next yearly appointment. I am looking forward to having the surgery, some days it makes a real problem for driving. It will be fine!💕💞

  • I don't have GCA but after 18 months on pred. for PMR my optician noticed the start of cataracts and I have had cataract surgery on both eyes in the last few months. I have been told they were caused by the steroids. Such joy!

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