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Posterior Uveitis(Chorioretinitis; Choroiditis; Retinitis; Retinal Vasculitis; Vitritis)

Pronounced: Koh-re-O-ret-E-ni-tis

Definition

Posterior uveitis is inflammation of the back segment of the uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. Posterior uveitis affects the retina and choroid, which are layers found in the back of the eye. The retina has the rods and cones that allow you to see.

It is a potentially serious condition. It requires care from your doctor to prevent vision loss.

Anatomy of the Eye

AR00032_labeled eye

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Posterior uveitis may be caused by infection or by autoimmune disorders. It may also appear as a result of an infection in the past.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of posterior uveitis include:

Symptoms

Posterior uveitis may cause:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • Seeing floating objects in your vision
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensation of sparks or flashes of light
  • Impaired night vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Distortion of objects
Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

To prepare for a complete eye exam, drops may be put in your eyes to numb them and to dilate your pupils. The slit lamp, a special microscope to examine the eye, will focus a high powered beam of light into your eye to examine the cornea and other eye structures. The doctor may measure the pressure in your eyes.

Your bodily fluids may be tested to determine a possible cause. This can be done with blood tests.

Treatment

Most often treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms of posterior uveitis until it goes away. It is important to follow treatment recommendations to prevent complications or recurrence.

Focus may be on treating the underlying cause.

Medications

Posterior uveitis may be treated with:

  • Oral or corticosteroid injections to control inflammation
  • Medications to treat infection (if present)
  • Medications that suppress the effects of the immune system
  • Biological response modifiers to change immune response
Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent posterior uveitis.

RESOURCES:

Iritis Organization
http://www.iritis.org

National Eye Institute
http://www.nei.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.eyesite.ca

Canadian Association of Optometrists
http://www.opto.ca

References:

Bou G, Figueroa MS, Martí-Belda P, Navas E, Guerrero A. Value of PCR for detection of Toxoplasma gondii in aqueous humor and blood samples from immunocompetent patients with ocular toxoplasmosis. J Clin Microbiol. 1999;37(11):3465-3468.

Facts about uveitis. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis. Updated August 2011. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Lanzafame M, Trevenzoli M, Vento S, Parrinello A. Clinical picture: Tuberculous chorioretinitis. Lancet. 2001;357(9266):1390.

Posterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 12, 2014. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Yang MB. Patient complains of blurry vision in right eye for 2 weeks. Ophthalmology Times. 1997;22(12):18-20.

1/28/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Berrébi A, Assouline C, Bessieres MH, et al. Long-term outcome of children with congenital toxoplasmosis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010;203(6):552.e1-e6.



Last reviewed June 2015 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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