Inflammation of the eye’s interior is known as uveitis. In severe cases or if left untreated, uveitis can cause damage to the eye and result in vision loss. There are four different types of uveitis, which are diagnosed according to the area of the eye that is affected:
- Anterior uveitis, which is when the iris of the eye is inflamed
- Intermediate uveitis, which is when the middle of the eye is inflamed
- Posterior uveitis, which is when the back of the eye is inflamed
- Pan-uveitis, which is when the entire eye is inflamed
What are the symptoms of uveitis?
Uveitis symptoms can vary from case to case. The most common symptoms include:
- Redness in the eye
- Floating dark spots, known as floaters
- Light sensitivity
- Decreased vision
These symptoms can be present in one eye or both. Symptoms can come and go in episode-like stages for some patients, while others may experience symptoms only once. Uveitis can permanently alter vision, so it’s critical to seek medical care as soon as symptoms develop.
What can cause uveitis?
The majority of uveitis cases do not have a known cause, but in some instances, there has been a link between uveitis and the following conditions:
- Autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and sarcoidosis
- Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections
- Previous damage or injury to the eye
How is uveitis treated?
Uveitis is diagnosed and treated on a case-by-case basis. Your primary doctor will determine if blood testing, x-rays, and an overall health evaluation are needed. If uveitis is suspected and later diagnosed, treatment will depend on the source of the condition. For example, if an infection is presumed, then antibiotics can be prescribed. Generally speaking, anti-inflammatory medications are administered in eye-drop form or oral if needed.
In some cases, corticosteroid eye drops, injections, or oral doses may be recommended. For cases where a corticosteroid injection is appropriate, the procedure can be completed in-office. In severe uveitis cases, the inflammation can be controlled with stronger oral medicine. Should the condition prove to be chronic, where standard treatments do not prevent symptoms from reappearing, your doctor will likely recommend immediate evaluation by a specialist who has specific experience with chronic uveitis.
Meet our uveitis specialist, Dr. Eduardo Uchiyama.