Inflammatory Filamental Keratitis, Anyone?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Extremely dry burning eyes is what keratitis amounts to. It's a side effect of RA, which I've had for nine years along with a number of other less severe auto-immune conditions. 

I've had keratitis for over a year now and tried every possible avenue for cure and management, including a slew of different drops and gels and ointments, as well as a long-term regime of Restasis, which as far as I know is the only thing the pharmaceutical industry – and the ophthalmologists – suggest might cure it.

It only made it worse for me!

Keratitis is a kind of drying out of the three vital layers that protect the cornea and keep it lubricated. When the dryness has removed the oily surface and the tear layer, it reaches the bottom layer (called mycene, I think) and then, while further trying to protect the eye, that layer breaks up into filaments which lodge onto the cornea causing humungous irritation, as if all kinds of assorted junk had landed under my eyelid!

​Sometimes these filaments are even visible to the naked eye as white spots when they appear over the iris. 

Sorry for all this gruesome detail, but I've nver come across anyone else who has had this kind of problem and am badly looking to share stories and maybe find some new avenues of help where the professionals have failed me...

Anyone who has ever had windswept sawdust land in their eye will be able to imagine what a distressing thing this can be, and I do hope someone out there has found some answers...

Thank you...



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7 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm only just starting to get the dry eyes, it seems to be starting from the corners nearest to my nose. I'm also getting a dry mouth and throat, although I hadn't made the link between these two things and my RA. Something to ask the rheumy about when I see her in July!
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    • Posted

      Hi Irevenden,

      This could possibly be symptoms of another auto-immune condition called Sjorgrens (spelling? not sure!). I don't want to worry you and I do hope it isn't, but I was asked whether I also had a dry mouth, which I don't, and told about this one.

      The trouble with these dread AI diseases is that when you get one, you're more likely to get another.

      Suggest you ask your rheumy about it when you see him/her in July. Meanwhile, I hope all the bst for you!

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  • Posted

    I had filaments floating in my eye two years ago. Ive only just been diagnosed with RA but had runny eyes then itchy constantly. Cant wear any eye makeup. Optrex eye balm to wash them out is the only thing that has eased it for a bit . Im going to the rhematoid arthritus specialist today and will ask 
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    • Posted

      This sounds like something a bit different.... those obvious greyish worm-like filaments we sometimes see floating around in front of our vision are quite another kettle of fish and not to be concerned about, as far as I know – if, in fact, that's what youre talking about.

      I had them for years and I understand they're something connected to the retina, the inner part of the eye.

      My so-called filaments don't actually appear as filaments at all – at first I thought the doctors had got it wrong.

      They appear to the naked watching eye – =14pxwhen hovering on the coloured part of the eye, the iris – =14pxas tiny white spots. The dark of the iris makes them more visible and in my experience the closer they get to the pupil, the more sensitive the cornea is to them and so the more painful for me.

      I still haven't altogether understood why they call them filaments at all – perhaps it's a little too weird to call it 'spotty keratitis'!

      Apparently through the slit lamp they do appear as filaments, minute strands that attach themselves to the cornea.


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  • Posted

    That sounds horrible!  I am so sorry!  I've noticed that my eyes feel gritty at times but not always.  I'm having trouble focusing and wonder if I should have another eye exam.  It's not even been a year since my last one.  The last two exams the doctor told me that the area around my eyes were slightly swollen and suggested I might have allergies, maybe to my makeup.    I was diagnosed with ra in November and it seems logical that it was the cause and was affecting my eyes before I knew anything.  I sure pray that I don't end up with your problem!  Hopefully you will find something that helps!  Good luck!


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    • Posted

      No.... don't worry. It doesn't sound the same. And we do tend to get gritty eyes anyway as we get older.... by gritty, I suppose you really mean dry eyes.

      I'm 68 and many of my older friends also take eye drops and so on to fend of that dr- eyed feeling.

      As for your trouble focusing... that should definitely be checked because that would be a vision problem.

      What I've picked up on this painful journey is that there are problems on the outer area of the eye, the hardware so to speak, and there are problems of the interior part of the eye, that involves vision, a bit like the software, if you fancy the comparison.

      Mine's a hardware problem!

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Light!  I'm 66 so the dry eyes are probably partly due to age, although I didn't have it before I was diagnosed with ra and put on so many meds!  I know the questions they ask me each time when I go to the rheumatologist is if I have dry eyes or mouth.  I do have both!  I'm sure I don't have your problems!  I don't normally wear glasses to drive but have recently found that I need them.  I'm going to have to check on when I had my last eye exam!  Thank you for your reply!
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