Learn more about Uveitis, including The Symptoms, The Causes, and The Treatments.
Uveitis is the inflammation of the Uvea or Uveal tract (the middle pigmented layer of the eye); the uvea/uveal tract is made up of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. Uveitis can occur at any age but usually affects people that are between the ages of 20-60 years old. Uveitis affects men and women equally. Uveitis can be a chronic condition, where you have repeated bouts or episodes of uveitis.
There are different types of uveitis dependent on the location:
• Anterior uveitis – this is inflammation of the iris and is known as iritis. Inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body is known as iridocyclitis (most common type of uveitis)
• Intermediate uveitis – this is inflammation of the ciliary body
• Posterior uveitis – this is inflammation of the choroid & can involve the retina.
• Panuveitis (also known as diffuse uveitis) is where the whole Uvea or Uveal tract is inflamed.
• Sensitive to light (photophobia)
• Pain in one or both eyes
• Red eyes
• Reduced vision
• Blurred vision
• Intermediate and posterior uveitis may be painless
There are many potential causes of uveitis. The most common cause of Uveitis is thought to be an autoimmune disorder (weakened immune system), Infection, eye surgery or injury may also cause uveitis.
Example of autoimmune disorders that may cause uveitis are; acute posterior multifocal placoid pigment epitheliopathy, ankylosing spondylitis, Behcet's disease, herpes simplex or zoster, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, Lyme disease, sarcoidosis, multiple sclerosis, Reiter's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus and many more.
Uveitis should be treated as soon as possible for a better outcome.
• The main line of treatment for uveitis is steroids; steroids are used to stop the inflammation in the eyes. Patients with anterior uveitis are treated with steroid eye drops. If you have severe, intermediate, posterior or Panuveitis you may have treatment via steroid injections, tablets and capsules too.
• If a patient is suffering from pain caused by the uveitis, dilating eye drops can be used to relieve pain by relaxing the muscles in the eyes. Please note these will dilate your pupils and make your vision blurry.
• Patients that are photophobic (sensitive to light) may benefit from wearing good quality polarising sunglasses to help shield their eyes from bright lights, sunlight and glare.
• If you have an underlying eye infection that is causing your Uveitis that will need to be treated too. Viral infections are treated with antiviral medication, bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics and fungal infections are treated with antifungal medication.
• Immunosuppressant tablets or treatment may be given to patients that have uncontrollable frequent repeated episodes of uveitis or when uveitis does not respond to steroid drops, tablets, injections and capsules.
Most cases of uveitis respond quickly to treatment. You must attend all follow up appointments at the eye hospital. If you have a flare up of uveitis you must attend the eye hospital as soon as possible. Do not self medicate with old steroid eye drops or steroid treatment; always get checked by your local eye hospital if you have another episode of uveitis.
Patients that have Intermediate or posterior uveitis, or who have repeated episodes of uveitis are at greater risk of developing complications. Complications of uveitis are glaucoma, cataracts and retinal damage.
Always have regular eye tests and health checks, especially if you are concerned about something relating to your eyes and health.
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