Uveitis is a inflammatory condition of the middle layer of the eye, the uvea, which provides most of the blood supply to the retina. Similar to arthritis of the joints, Uveitis is not an infection, but rather an inflammation.
While, in most cases, the cause is idiopathic, Uveitis can be associated with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, infection, exposure to toxins, bowel and abdominal inflammation, and even trauma. The whole body is connected and sometimes an injury to a completely unrelated area of your body, like your back, can trigger Uveitis.
Signs and Symptoms
Uveitis symptoms may develop rapidly, affecting one or both eyes, and can include:
• Blurred vision
• Dark, floating spots in the vision
• Eye pain
• Redness of the eye
• Sensitivity to light
Forms of Uveitis
Uveitis is the third-leading cause of blindness in developed countries, behind Cataracts (#1) Glaucoma (#2).
The most common form of Uveitis is Anterior Uveitis, also called Iritis, which involves inflammation in the front part of the eye. The disorder may affect one eye or both eyes and is most common in young and middle-aged people.
Posterior Uveitis, also referred to as Choroiditis, affects the back part of the uvea and primarily involves the chorid, which is a layer of blood vessels under the retina. If the retina is involved, it is called Chorioretinitis.
The final form of Uveitis is Pars Planitis, which is an inflammation affecting the area just behind the iris. This particular type of Uveitis occurs primarily in young men.
Treatment for Uveitis involves the use of steroid eye drops, though additional treatments may be helpful, including: wearing dark glasses, using eye drops that dilate and relax the pupil to relieve pain, using oral steroids, and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin.
With proper treatment, most cases of Uveitis are resolved in a few days or, more commonly, a few weeks. However, relapses are common.
Call your eye doctor immediately if you are suffering from blurry vision or any of the other previously mentioned symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to an eye specialist.
Eye pain and reduced vision are serious symptoms that require prompt medical attention from you optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If you have any questions about what you have just read, please contact Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010.
Uveitis Mayo Clinic