Uveitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the uvea, the middle of the eye. The most common type of uveitis is called iritis and involves inflammation of the iris. The condition typically affects healthy individuals between the ages of 20 and 50. However, in more severe cases of uveitis, the choroid and retina become inflamed. This type of uveitis is more common in individuals with a body-wide infection or autoimmune disorder.

Symptoms of uveitis

Uveitis may occur suddenly and progress quickly or it may occur gradually. The condition can affect one eye or both with symptoms including: 

  • Inflammation
  • Irritation 
  • Redness 
  • Pain 
  • Decrease in vision
  • Floaters
  • Sensitivity to light

Causes of uveitis

The cause of uveitis is often unknown. However, the condition may be associated with: 

  • Eye injury
  • Exposure to toxins 
  • Body-wide infection 
  • Autoimmune disorder

Some of the infections and autoimmune disorders associated with uveitis include: 

  • Herpes
  • Syphilis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis 
  • Behcet syndrome 
  • Histoplasmosis 
  • Kawasaki disease 
  • Sarcoidoisis 
  • Toxoplasmosis 
  • Tuberculosis 
  • Ulcerative colitis 
  • AIDS

Treatment for uveitis

Uveitis can often be treated with steroid drops or oral medication to reduce inflammation. Antibiotic eye drops may be used if an infection is present. An immunosuppressant may be administered as well.

If the condition is particularly severe and scar tissue has built up causing a decrease in vision, a surgical procedure called vitrectomy may be performed to remove vitreous gel, the clear fluid, from the eye. When uveitis is caused by an underlying condition, diagnosing and treating that condition can often help to relieve symptoms of uveitis.

If you suspect you may have uveitis or are experiencing any type of eye inflammation or pain, contact your eye doctor. It is important to diagnose and treat eye conditions early for the best possible outcome and to reduce any risk of vision loss.


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