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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Treatment

Mild eye disease may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, including steroids and NSAIDs that are applied to the eye. If these medications do not work well enough, oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline (sold under many brand names), may be recommended in case an infection is causing the eye inflammation.

For more severe disease, oral corticosteroids may be necessary. When large amounts of steroids are required or if the disease is severe and is not responding to steroid therapy, other immunosuppressive medications often are recommended. These immunosuppressive drugs include methotrexate (Rheumatrex), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) or azathioprine (Imuran). In some cases, other immunosuppressive medications or combinations of medicines are prescribed. Occasionally, if the disease has damaged blood vessels, surgery may need to be done to correct the problem.

If excess fluid in the inner ear is causing balance problems, your doctor may prescribe diuretic medications, which increase urination and removal of fluid from the body. A sense of imbalance may be treated with antihistamines or benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) or clonazepam (Klonopin) and bed rest.

When hearing is impaired and does not improve with medical treatment, cochlear implants may be helpful. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that translate sounds into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain, bypassing the malfunctioning part of the ear. Part of the device is implanted in the ear, and part is worn outside the ear.

If the front of the eye is damaged severely by inflammation, a corneal transplant can improve vision. A corneal transplant is surgery that replaces the scarred cornea with one from an organ donor.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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