Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. The uvea provides most of the blood supply to the retina.
Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms may develop rapidly and can include:
* Blurred vision
* Dark, floating spots in the vision
* Eye pain
* Redness of the eye
* Sensitivity to light
Uveitis can be caused by autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, infection, or exposure to toxins. However, in many cases the cause is unknown.
The most common form of uveitis is anterior uveitis, which involves inflammation in the front part of the eye. It is often called iritis because it is usually only effects the iris, the colored part of the eye. The inflammation may be associated with autoimmune diseases, but most cases occur in healthy people. The disorder may affect only one eye. It is most common in young and middle-aged people.
Treatment of an underlying disorder may help to prevent uveitis in persons with a body-wide (systemic) infection or disease.
A complete medical history and eye examination should be performed. Laboratory tests may be done to rule out infection or an autoimmune disorder.
Persons over age 25 with pars planitis should have an MRI of their brain and spine to rule out multiple sclerosis.
With proper treatment, most attacks of anterior uveitis go away in a few days to weeks. However, relapses are common.
Inflammation related to posterior uveitis may last from months to years and may cause permanent vision damage, even with treatment.
Iritis is usually mild. Treatment may involve:
* Dark glasses
* Eye drops that dilate the pupil to relieve pain
* Steroid eye drops or ointment
Pars planitis is often treated with steroid eye drops. Other medicines, including steroids taken by mouth, may be prescribed to help suppress the immune system.
Choroiditis treatment depends on the underlying cause. Additional specialists in infectious disease or autoimmunity may be needed for such diseases as syphilis, tuberculosis, AIDS, sarcoidosis, or Behcet’s syndrome.
If the uveitis is caused by a body-wide infection, treatment may involve antibiotics and powerful anti-inflammatory medicines called corticosteroids. See autoimmune disorders for information on treating such diseases.
Other names: Iritis; Uveitis ; Choroiditis; Chorioretinitis; Anterior uveitis; Posterior uveitis