Uveitis is an inflammation of your eye’s uvea (also known as a vascular tunic or uveal tract), the middle layer of the eye that is comprised of the iris, choroid, and ciliary body.
This inflammation causes a wide range of discomfort and pain in the affected eye(s) and can lead to permanent vision loss.
Symptoms of Uveitis
Many of the symptoms of uveitis are shared by other eye conditions. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, it is important that you undergo an eye exam as early as possible.
Uveitis, and its symptoms, may affect only one eye or both eyes.
Symptoms of uveitis include:
- General pain or an achiness felt in the eye(s)
- Red or bloodshot eye(s)
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Increased sensitivity to light, which may increase the feeling of pain
- The appearance of floaters. These resemble small hairs or spots of dust that float about your field of vision
- Overall decrease in vision.
If left untreated, uveitis can lead to permanent loss of vision. Early diagnosis and treatment of uveitis is crucial to ensuring healthy eyesight.
Causes of Uveitis
The exact cause of uveitis is still unclear; there are conditions that have been linked with the development of uveitis.
Uveitis is associated with:
- Previous eye injury
- Certain types of cancer that directly or indirectly affect the eye, such as lymphoma
- Autoimmune disorders, such as sarcoidosis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and multiple sclerosis
- Infections in the body, such as herpes, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, syphilis, and shingles
- Inflammatory disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
While the redness in the eye can be clearly visible, diagnosing uveitis may require thorough tests and a review of your medical history in addition to eye exams.
Since there are multiple potential causes of uveitis, patients may be required to undergo a comprehensive range of tests in order to identify the underlying cause and the appropriate treatment. This will vary from patient to patient and can include a range of blood tests, urine analysis, chest x-rays, and lab work.
Treatment of Uveitis
The treatment of uveitis varies from patient to patient and is related to the underlying cause(s) identified during testing and diagnosis.
The goal of uveitis treatment is to reduce inflammation in the affected eye(s). Anti-inflammatory medication, such as a corticosteroid, may be prescribed to patients as eye drops, oral pills, or as an injection into or around the eye.
If an infection has been identified as the underlying cause of uveitis, antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed alongside the anti-inflammatory medication.
When identified early enough, a prescription for medication is usually enough.
In more severe cases in which your vision is threatened or when the uveitis is not responding to anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, immunosuppressive medication or a vitrectomy may be necessary.
Severe cases of uveitis may require a longer period of time in order to successfully treat.