What is uveitis?
Uveitis refers to inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer between the sclera and he retina. Uvea contains many blood vessels that carry blood to and from the eyes. It nourishes many important parts of the eye including retina. Therefore, inflammation of the uvea can damage your vision.
Depending of which part of the eye is affected, uveitis may be classified anatomically into:
- Anterior uveitis(inflammation near the front of the eye)
- Intermediate uveitis (inflammation in the middle of the eye)
- Posterior uveitis(inflammation at the back of the eye)
- Panuveitic uveitis (inflammation of all the layers of the uvea)
There are many different causes of uveitis. In most cases, the cause remains unknown.
Lists of possible causes:
- Viral infection such as shingles, herpes simplex or mumps
- Fungal infection such as histoplasmosis
- Parasitic infection such as toxoplasmosis
- Disease related to other part of body such as arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, or collagen vascular disease
- Eye injury
It can also be associated with glaucoma (increased eye pressure), cataract (clouding of the natural lens in eye), neovascularisation (abnormal growth of blood vessels) and damage to the retina (such as retinal detachment).
Symptoms include blurred vision, pain, light sensitivity, floaters and redness of the eye.
Patients who have uveitis may develop sudden red eyes or blurring of vision associated with pain.
If you have a red eye that does not clear up quickly, or pain in the eye, you should be examined and treated by an ophthalmologist.
Because uveitis is an inflammatory condition, the urgent treatment focuses on control of the inflammation. If uveitis is not treated early, it can lead to potential permanent, irreversible loss of vision.
Eyedrops, especially corticosteroids and pupil dilators, can reduce inflammation and pain. Oral medication or injections may be prescribed for severe uveitis.