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Uveitis(Anterior Uveitis; Iritis; Iridocyclitis)

Pronounced: You-vee-eye-tis

Definition

Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. This middle layer of the eye is called the uvea.

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

Normal Anatomy of the Eye


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Causes

Most often the cause of uveitis is not clear.

Some uveitis may be caused by a trauma to the eye or an infection, such as:

Risk Factors

Uveitis may be more likely to occur in people with other health problems and immune system diseases, such as

Symptoms

Uveitis may cause:

  • Red, sore, and watering eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pupil that is small or irregular in shape

Symptoms of Uveitis—Red, Sore, Watering Eyes

Eye Inflammation

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Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will also be done. An eye specialist will do a more extensive exam of the inside of your eye.

Blood tests may be done to look for other diseases or illnesses associated with your uveitis.

Treatment

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

If an underlying condition is causing the uveitis, treatment will focus on the condition causing the problem.

Medications

Medication can help to:

  • Reduce sensitivity to light and other complications
  • Reduce inflammation
  • To treat bacterial infection
  • To treat viral infection
  • Reduce pain and discomfort
Procedures

In some cases, surgery or a special eye implant may be needed.

It is important to follow up with your doctor and watch for signs of recurrence.

Prevention

Since the cause is often unknown, it is impossible to prevent a first episode of uveitis.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology
http://www.aao.org/

American Uveitis Society
http://www.uveitissociety.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

Uveitis Support Canada
http://www.uveitis.ca/

References:

Anterior uveitis. American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/anterior-uveitis.xml . Accessed June 21, 2013.

Anterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated October 23, 2012. Accessed June 21, 2013.

Uveitis. National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis.asp#d . Accessed June 21, 2013.



Last reviewed May 2014 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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