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Anterior Uveitis(Uveitis; Iritis; Iridocyclitis)

Pronounced: You-vee-eye-tis

Definition

Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the front segment of the uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. Anterior uveitis affects the iris and ciliary body. It 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

In most cases, the cause of anterior uveitis is unknown. However in some, it may be caused by trauma or an infection. Infections associated with anterior uveitis include:

Risk Factors

Anterior uveitis may be more likely to occur in people with other health problems and autoimmune disorders, such as

Symptoms

Anterior 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 disorders causing or associated with anterior uveitis.

Treatment

Most often treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms of anterior 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 of anterior uveitis.

Medications

Anterior uveitis may be treated with:

  • Corticosteroid eye drops to control inflammation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Cycloplegic (pupil dilating) agents to help decrease pain and light sensitivity, and to prevent the iris from sticking to the lens underneath
  • Topical beta agonists to help relieve pressure in the eye
Procedures

If other treatment methods fail, or your symptoms worsen, surgery may be needed.

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

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent anterior 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:

Anterior uveitis. American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/anterior-uveitis?sso=y. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Anterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 3, 2014. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Iritis overview website. Available at: http://www.iritis.org. Accessed June 11, 2015.



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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