Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea (or uveal layer) – the middle layer of three that make up the eye. It may be infectious or noninfectious. It is a treatable condition; however, without proper treatment, it can lead to other complications including glaucoma, cataracts, optic nerve damage, retinal detachment and severe vision loss.
The uvea is a vascular, fibrous layer that protects the eye, and is critical to nutrient and gas exchange. It consists of three parts: the iris, ciliary body, and the choroid. When any part of the uvea becomes inflamed, it is called uveitis. There are several types of uveitis, each affecting different parts of the uvea.
Types of Uveitis
Anterior uveitis – The most common form of uveitis, it affects the iris and its surrounding tissue, the ciliary body both of which are located in the front of the eye. Anterior uveitis is sometimes referred to as iritis because the iris is the part of the uvea that is usually inflamed.
Intermediate uveitis – Another form of uveitis, it affects the area just behind the ciliary body (pars plana) and also the most forward edge of the retina. This is the least common type of uveitis.
Posterior uveitis – A rare form of the disorder that affects the back part of the eye, the choroid, and can affect the retina and/or optic nerve. This form is more difficult to treat, and is often associated with progressive loss of vision.
Pan-uveitis - When inflammation affects all three areas of the uvea it is referred to as pan-uveitis.
Intermediate, posterior and pan-uveitis are very serious conditions and may cause blindness if left untreated. If you experience any of the symptoms below, contact your eye care professional immediately.
What Causes Uveitis?
Uveitis may come on suddenly with redness and pain, or it may be slow in onset with little pain or redness, but gradual blurring of vision. Symptoms of uveitis may include:
- Light sensitivity
- Blurring of vision
- Pain in the eye
- Redness of the eye
- Floaters in the eye
- Decreased vision
If you experience these symptoms it is important to schedule an exam with your eye care professional immediately.
Treatments for Uveitis
When treated promptly, uveitis typically responds well. The first goal is to decrease the inflammation in the eye in a way that balances the potential risk of treatment. Treatments of uveitis may include:
- Prescription eye drops in combination with anti-inflammatory medications. Eye drops may not penetrate well to the back of the eye, so this type of treatment may not work in posterior uveitis.
- Ocular anti-inflammatory injections - injections may be to the outside or inside of the eye. This treatment may be uncomfortable, yet very effective in acute episodes of uveitis.
- Systemic or oral administration of steroids, other immunosuppressant or anti-metabolite drugs.
- Surgical procedures may be needed to replace the vitreous (or gel-like area) or to implant a device in the eye for slow-release of corticosteroid medication
Some medications can have serious side effects. Follow-up exams, including eye exams and possible blood tests, are important and may be needed every 1-3 months. Talk to your eye care professional about any concerns you have.
Babies Eye Concerns
While chances are excellent that your baby's vision will develop normally, some infants have a higher risk for certain conditions that may affect their sight...Know More
Toddlers and Childrens Vision Concerns
Parents are usually the first to notice that their children may have special vision needs, so if you have any concerns about your child’s vision, don’t hesit...Know More
Keeping your Eyes Healthy
It is important that your eyes stay healthy because you’ll need good vision for just about every activity you choose—and you want to keep your 20/20 vision f...Know More
Generally, changes in your vision now are just a factor of aging. If you experience any of the issues below, you may have the early warning signs of a m...Know More
60s+ Eye Concerns
Many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may be painless, and you may see no change in your vision until the disease has become quite advanced. Only yo...Know More
A person with shortsightedness can see close objects clearly, but may have trouble seeing objects from a distance – like a road sign, blackboard, or face acr...Know More
Contrary to what the name implies, a person who is longsighted has blurred vision when looking at close objects, unless they make a constant effort to focus,...Know More
Astigmatism is a common vision condition that happens when a person's cornea is not symmetrical. A normal cornea is round like a baseball. With astigmatism, ...Know More
Presbyopia is a natural occurrence where near vision becomes blurred, making it hard to focus while doing things like reading, using a mobile phone, or worki...Know More
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
If you’ve been diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration (commonly abbreviated as AMD), you’re not alone. It is estimated that as many as 16 million pe...Know More
Bulging eyes, or proptosis, occurs when one or both eyes protrude from the eye sockets due to space taking lesions such as swelling of the muscles, fat, and ...Know More
The eye's natural crystalline lens helps us focus on people and things at varying distances. Unfortunately, as we grow older this lens often stiffens and har...Know More
Cataracts in Babies
What is a cataract?
Normally, babies are born with a transparent lens in each eye. The lens focuses objects on the retina, and it brings objects in...Know More
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a complication of diabetes caused by fluid accumulation in the macula, or central portion of the eye, that causes the macula ...Know More
CMV retinitis is an infection that attacks the light-sensing cells in the retina. It is a serious disease that should be diagnosed and treated immediately, b...Know More
Nearly all people who are “color blind” can see colors but have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors. Not all people who are color blind have tro...Know More
Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
Crossed eyes (or strabismus) occur when a person’s eyes are not able to align on the same point at the same time, and appear to be misaligned or pointed in d...Know More
Herpetic Keratitis (Eye Ulcers)
You've probably heard that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause open sores on the face and genitals but did you know the infection can be transferred to ...Know More
Keratoconus is a condition that results from an irregularly shaped cornea, which prevents light from focusing correctly on the retina. In keratoconus, the no...Know More
Eye Floaters and Eye Flashes
Eye floaters are tiny spots, specks, lines or shapes that enter into your field of vision, appearing to float in front of the eye. They may seem like distant...Know More
Glaucoma occurs when a build-up of fluid creates pressure in the eye, which then damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for the transmission...Know More
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, occurs when there is a lack of vision in one eye because the eye and the brain are not working together. The brain may...Know More
Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure in the eye (known as intraocular pressure) is above the range considered normal (often defined as above 21 mm Hg...Know More
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the nerve tissues and blood supply underneath it. While painless, visually this has a cloudi...Know More
Sometimes your eyelid simply twitches. It is rarely uncomfortable and does not affect your vision-- but it can be irritating. Most of all, it may make you wo...Know More
Low vision is a term that refers to vision 20/70 or worse that cannot be fully corrected by glasses or contact lenses. People with low vision generally fall ...Know More
Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Glaucoma
You will find that every year, multiple national and international eye institutes, health organizations, opticians, universities, and NGOs combine efforts to...Know More
Common Eye Disorder Explained - The Usuals vs. The Red Flags
Our eyes are highly complex and sensitive organs. If you want your eyes to be healthy and enjoy a colorful and vibrant life, you need to take good care of th...Know More