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Uveitis

Definition


Disease: Uveitis Uveitis
Category: Eye diseases

Disease Definition:

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the vascular layer of the eye that is located between the retina and the sclera (the white of the eye). The iris, choroid layer and ciliary body make up the uvea, which extends toward the front of the eye. Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, and its most common type is inflammation of the iris called anterior uveitis or iritis. Uveitis can be serious and cause permanent vision loss and people between the ages of 20 and 50 are most susceptible to this condition. In order to avoid the complications caused by uveitis, early diagnosis and treatment is quite essential.
 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Some of the characteristic signs and symptoms of uveitis are:

  • Blurred vision
  • Noticeable effects in one or both eyes
  • Eye redness and pain
  • Decreased vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • The presence of floaters, which are dark floating spots in the field of vision
  • Variable site of inflammation. In some cases this may occur in all three layers of the uvea, a condition called panuveitis; only the back of the eye, a condition called posterior uveitis; or only the front of the eye, a condition called iritis or anterior uveitis.
  • Sudden appearance and rapid worsening of symptoms.
     

Causes:

In some cases, uveitis may be associated with eye injury; Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory disorders; certain cancers that have an indirect effect on the eye, such as lymphoma; rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or other autoimmune disorders; or infections such as tuberculosis, syphilis or toxoplasmosis. Despite this, the exact cause of uveitis can’t be found in most cases.
 

Complications

Complications:

Uveitis may cause some of the complications mentioned below if it is left untreated:

  • Clouding of the cornea or the lens (cataract)
  • Loss of vision
  • Glaucoma, a condition in which the pressure inside the eye is abnormally high
  • Retinal detachment, fluid within the retina or other retinal problems
  • Damage to the optic nerve
  • Scar tissue inside the eye
     

Treatments:

In case an underlying condition is the cause of uveitis, treatment will focus on eliminating that condition. Reducing the inflammation in the eye is the major goal of treatment. Some of the treatment options for uveitis are:

 

Anti-inflammatory medications:

These medications could be prescribed as eyedrops. A person with uveitis may also be prescribed a corticosteroid, which could be administered either by injection into the eye or by pill. 

 

Antibiotic or antiviral medications:

In case an infection is the cause of uveitis, in order to control the infection a person will be prescribed antibiotics, antivirals or other medications.

 

Cytotoxic medications or immunosuppressants:

When uveitis becomes severe enough to threaten the patient’s vision, or if the condition doesn’t respond well to corticosteroids, cytotoxic agents or immunosuppressants may become necessary.

 

Surgery:

In some cases, to correctly diagnose and treat uveitis, a vitrectomy may be necessary. In this procedure, the vitreous, a jelly-like material in the eye, will be removed.

 

Exactly how long this condition will last is based on the affected part of the eye, either the front or the back. While posterior uveitis may alter the patient’s vision permanently, lasting several months or years, but anterior uveitis may clear up in a few days to weeks if it’s treated properly. In case the symptoms of uveitis reappear after successful treatment, the person should see a doctor because uveitis can recur.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

Expert's opinion

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