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Uveitis ( inflammation of the uvea)


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The middle layer (white of the eye) of the eye is called uvea and it consists of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. Uveitis means inflammation of the uvea.


Types of uveitis

  •  Iritis- also known as anterior veitis in an infection of the iris in the front of your eyes
  •  Choroiditis- The choroid present in the back portion of your eyes is affected, so it is termed as posterior uveitis
  •  Pars planitis or cyclitis- The middle portion or the ciliary body is inflamed
  •  Panuveitis- All the three layers or structures of the uvea are infected.


Symptoms of uveitis

Symptoms of uveitis develop suddenly and can last for 6-8 weeks to years i.e. it can become chronic and might recur as well. You will observe the following things: 

  • Pain and redness or blood shots in eye
  •  Changes in vision – blurriness or reduction in vision
  •  Appearance of floaters or specs before eyes
  •  Sensitivity to light     
  •  Appearance of whitish area (hypopyon) inside the eye


Causes of uveitis

There are several reasons that could lead to development of uveitis and they are:

  • Past incidence of eye injury, trauma or infection in eyes
  • From autoimmune and inflammatory diseases- e.g. Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.  
  •  Viral infections like herpes simplex, mumps, shingles, syphilis, etc.
  •  Side effect of cancer in lymphocytes
  •  Parasitic or fungal infection like toxoplasmosis
  •  From complicated smoking habits- addiction then quitting then re addiction


Complications of uveitis

You must see a doctor immediately on observing the aforementioned eye symptoms. Delay in treatment or chronic conditions can give rise to cataract, glaucoma, retinal complication (detachment) and might also damage the optic nerve.

If not treated at all the inflammation can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness


Diagnosis of uveitis

You have to visit an ophthalmologist to get your eyes examined. He/she will carefully inspect the inside of your eyes and also perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine the other parameters related to your vision and eye health.

Another important thing that your doctor will look for with a slit lamp is – accumulation of white blood cells at the back of the cornea.

You need to let your doctor know about an existing medical history or any incidence of eye infection, trauma, etc.

Uveitis would be confirmed with these eye tests but for determining the underlying cause your eye specialist is most likely to order blood tests and x rays. This will help to determine an appropriate treatment.


Treatment for uveitis

It’s indeed something serious and treatment will be started immediately once the diagnostic reports are clear. Corticosteroid eye drops or injections and pupil dilators are given to manage pain and inflammation. In case of serious infection, you might have to take oral antibiotics or antiviral drugs.

A latest treatment method for chronic non infectious type of posterior uveitis is- a tiny drug reservoir is implanted in the back of the eye that delivers specific amount of corticosteroid medication to gradually reduce the inflammation.

Your doctor will first observe how well you are responding to the first line of treatment. If it doesn’t heal after a certain period then immunosuppressive drugs might be prescribed.

Furthermore, laser phototherapy, vitrectomy (surgical removal of vitreous layer) and cryotherapy are some other treatment options for severe chronic infections.

The duration of the treatment will depend on the severity and type of the uveitis you are suffering from and of course your response to the treatment.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 22, 2014

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