CSN Login
Members Online: 13

Cataracts

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1038
Joined: May 2012

I went to the eye doc this week, and discovered that I have developed cataracts in both eyes.  The doctor said they will probably need surgery within two years or so.  The doctor noted where I listed lymphoma on my medical history, and asked if I had received steroids.  I said "no," since r-abvd does not include a steroid, but I asked him why he had asked the question.  He said that steroids are a major cause of cataracts, and that they are common in people who have had steroids included with their drugs.  I was unaware of any of these linkages, and have not yet started reading about it, which I expect to begin this afternoon.

max

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3162
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Max,

  I'm so sorry about your cataracts. I appreciate you sharing this information with us, as this will be something I mention to my eye doctor when I have my next examination. I've read many articles on prednisone and none of the information makes me happy. There is plenty of info out there, but sometimes I ask myself "do I really want to know"?? Well...the answer is more often than not.."YES". I just wish doctors would be more forthcoming with long term damage from the drugs they give us. Well..it is,what it is. Thanks again...Sue

(FNHL-2-3a-6/10-age 62)

Folks24
Posts: 96
Joined: Feb 2007

Interesting! I had cataracts several years prior to being diagnosed with lymphoma. But my eye doctor says mine are the slow growing kind and I am not at the point where I need the surgery yet.  I was on steriods for 5 days after each chemo treatment though so I'll mention that next time I have an appointment.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2000
Joined: Aug 2011

 I recently had a thorough eye exam and too discovered I have cataracts that are evidently in the early and apparently slow growing stage.  The doctor told me I should be examined yearly and there was no cause for concern now.  Also my oncologist pointed out I have a gall stone but since it's hot causing any issues, we're not doing anything at this point.  The joys of getting older!

 

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 620
Joined: Aug 2009

I was glad to see this topic come up. I have regular eye exams and started having vision problems last November after having a clean eye exam the previous May. In only 6 months I had developed a full blown cataract in my right eye that would require surgery. I was so shocked because I knew the median age for cataracts to reach the surgery stage is mid 70's  and I am in my 50's. The MD's were surprised at the speed at which this developed and held the Chemo and steroids responsible. I had the lens implant in early January of this year. It was a "piece of cake" and the visual acuity is amazing. My left eye is starting but has not affected my vision yet but they and I are curious to see how fast that one developes. It should be noted that the most recent data they have is that the chemo/steriods do not cause cataracts but act as an accelerent to them. Also know that if they develope you will know it as it feels like you are looking through a foggy window. Mine just happened so fast that it was scary. Hope this helps someone. I am actually looking forward to having the other eye done. Then I will no longer need contacts or glasses......yes the results are that good!  Mary.....FNHL in remission 3 years as of 4/13/2010.

sherry84
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2013

Max: Thanks for sharing your recent experience. I'm sorry you have to go through this but bringing this out in the open will hopefully be helpful to you as well as others. I too developed cataracts about 5 years ago at age 50. I discovered I had a problem when I was on vacation with my husband and driving down a very dark road. I was totally blinded by the lights of the oncoming cars. It was terrifying needless to say. 2 days later, I saw the eye Dr who diagnosed me with the beginning stages of cataracts. Since then, I have been told I am not eligible for surgery because the cataracts are not "ripe" enough. I can't drive at night and have been needing frequent prescription change recently. I know I will need to find another eye Dr who can help me instead of giving me the stock answer.

I never knew there was a connection between cataracts and steriods until now.

Sue: You are so right about knowing all the side effects of our TX's. On one hand, it can get overwhelming but on the other hand,  knowledge is empowering.

Merrywinner: It was good to hearing about your recent positive experience with cataract surgery. I look forward to finding someone who is able to do the surgery while allowing me to stay on my regimen of blood thinners (warfarin). It's a real pain to go off, have to be bridged, then back on, etc.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1038
Joined: May 2012

Sherry,

The eye doc told me that there are three types of cataracts, and that mine are the fastest-moving variety.  Much as you discuss above, he first asked if I had "trouble driving at night," because that is when they first become problematic for most people.

As I stated in my first post above, I did begin looking into this, and it is a VERY COMMON, strong linkage with steroids.

The good news: the surgery is very safe and almost always highly successful. Also, compared to chemotherapy, the price is low.  (Of course, booking a flight to outer space as a civilian is cheap compared to chemotherapy !)

Thanks to all for all responses,

max

illead's picture
illead
Posts: 500
Joined: Aug 2012

I'm the caregiver not the one with lymphoma but just thought I would throw this out there.  I had cataract surgery on both eyes about 3 yrs. ago at age 61.  Things may have changed now but at that time I had the choice of getting the regular lens which insurance pays for or a new premium lens which ins. does not pay for.  With the regular lens your eyesight will be what it was before you had cataracts.  In other words, if you wore glasses  (even readers) you will still have to wear them after.  The premium lens gives you 20/20 far medium and close.  The down side is that the lenses are $2000/apiece!  I bit the bullet and got the premium ones and so far I am not one bit sorry.  It's wonderful not to have to use readers glued to your bodyWink.  My opthamologist however gave me all the drops for my eyes out of his "stash" because I was paying for the premiums.  Those drops are VERY expensive and so the savings on those could have nearly evened out what I paid for the lenses.  So that may be something for you guys to think about.  Becky

sherry84
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2013

That is really good info. Amazing how far this surgery has come.

 

Thanks, Sherry

sherry84
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2013

Glad to hear you have a good eye Dr who is knowledgeable. I've seen 2 who never mentioned the steroid/cataract connection to me even after hearing about my Lymphoma. I looked this up today and yes, there is a very strong connection.  

Strangely enough, it was only recently I learned I was given a steroid along with the chemo back in '84. Hard to believe but true. In any case, fortunately I'm still here to tell the tale.

Cataract surgery vs chemo, yup, I'd take the cataract surgery in a heart beat.

 

Be well, Sherry

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1038
Joined: May 2012

Sherry,

I talk to a lot of people about cancer, and one of my slogans is:

I'd rather have side-effects than have cancer. 

max

fullyloved
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks for the info on cataracts. I've had some vision problems lately that weren't making sense: minding strong light, hating driving at night, etc. I've been attributing it to my contacts bothering me. Now I wonder. Whew! Next step: visit to the eyedoctor. Wouldn't hurt me anyway. Haven't had an eye exam for 2 years, so it's about time.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1038
Joined: May 2012

Fully,

Go have an eye exam. I used to only go once every five years or so, but will be more frequently now. Aging -- the problems so accumulate !

Max, 57

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network