I too became a vegetarian in the early 80s .... for me, I just never really liked meat, and when I went to college and lived in a group house, I decided to learn to cook vegetarian.... I am not really one anymore, because I started eating fish a few years ago -- just couldn't digest enough of the food I used to eat any more. Now I am going back to being more vegetarian, as I like that better and w/surgery can eat more again .... (but I'm not as rigid as I was when I was 19..... so eating gelatin by your or me is not that big a deal to me either). My mom was worried when I became vegetarian that I couldn't be healthy that way, and my aunt blamed my IBD on not eating chicken....
I am not sure anyone knows the causes of the eye problems ....most people w/ibd who have eye problems get either iritis or uveitis, inflammation in different parts of they eye. I guess there's just a lot of inflammation going on, and the immune system isn't working right.
I got something called marginal keratitis -- inflammation of the cornea. The opthamologist said that in 30 years he'd never seen that in someone w/Crohns (and he's seen a lot of folks w/Crohn's) but that it was probably related. It was awful! I was so light sensitive I had to wear sunglasses indoors, and I would still cover up my face, and it was just incredibly painful. At first I got diagnosed with viral conjunctivitis, which is something that you just wait out.... finally I checked in because this just seemed so much worse..... opthamologist said immediately that it wasn't conjunctivitis .... the treatment was steroid eye drops, which are something like the best meds ever..... I was a lot better within a day.
I think those drops are what they use for most eye related complications, does your cousin have them?
I was tapering on pred when I got the eye condition..... was down to 5 or 10 mg..... after I had the drops I ended up in the hospital again and my pred was jacked up.... that helped w/the eye thing too, as well as various other inflammatory things I had going on....
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery