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Uveitis

Uveitis

Uveitis is a form of eye inflammation. It affects the middle layer of tissue in the eye wall (uvea).

Uveitis warning signs often come on suddenly and get worse quickly. They include eye redness, pain and blurred vision. Uveitis can be serious, leading to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the complications of uveitis.

The signs, symptoms and characteristics of uveitis include:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)
  • Decreased vision

Symptoms may occur suddenly and get worse quickly, though in some cases, they develop gradually. They may affect one or both eyes.

The uvea is the middle layer of tissue in the wall of the eye. It consists of the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. The choroid is sandwiched between the retina and the sclera. The retina is located at the inside wall of the eye and the sclera is the outer white part of the eye wall. The uvea provides blood flow to the deep layers of the retina. The type of uveitis you have depends on which part or parts of the eye are inflamed:

  • Iritis (anterior uveitis) affects the front of your eye and is the most common type.
  • Cyclitis (intermediate uveitis) affects the ciliary body.
  • Choroiditis and retinitis (posterior uveitis) affect the back of your eye.
  • Diffuse uveitis (panuveitis) occurs when all layers of the uvea are inflamed.

In any of these conditions, the jelly-like material in the center of your eye (vitreous) can become inflamed and infiltrated with inflammatory cells.

Causes

  • Eye injury or surgery
  • An autoimmune disorder, such as sarcoidosis or ankylosing spondylitis
  • An inflammatory disorder, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • An infection, such as cat-scratch disease, herpes zoster, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, Lyme disease or West Nile virus
  • A cancer that affects the eye, such as lymphoma

Complications

Left untreated, uveitis can cause complications, including:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Optic nerve damage
  • Retinal detachment
  • Permanent vision los

Treatment

Treatment of uveitis may vary depending on the type and cause of uveitis that has been diagnosed. That being said treatment of all forms of uveitis usually comprise of the following.

1) Steroid eye drops- these form the mainstay of treatment as they will help reduce inflammation

2) Cycloplegic agents – these help in reducing pain and preventing some complications that may arise due to uveitis

3) Antiglaucoma medications – There may be raised pressures because of uveitis and these drops will help reduce the eye pressure

4) Steroid injections – these injections are given both outside and inside the eye. Again the main purpose of these injections is to reduce the inflammation

5) Antibiotics – these drugs are started depending on the type of uveitis diagnosed

6) Immunosuppressive agents – These drugs help in reducing inflammation but have lesser side effects than steroids when used for long surations.