What is Uveitis?

Uveitis is inflammation anywhere in the pigmented inner lining of the eye, known as the uvea. The uvea is responsible for the eye’s blood supply. When the uvea becomes inflamed, the blood vessels dilate and begin to leak protein fluid and blood cells. There are different kinds of Uveitis. When the front part of the uvea is swollen or inflamed, it is called “iritis.” When the middle layer is inflamed, it is called “cyclitis”. An inflammation of the back part of the uvea is called “choroiditis.”

What causes Uveitis?

Uveitis has many possible causes and in some cases, no cause is ever determined. The most common causes of Uveitis include infection (widespread throughout the body, or limited to the eye itself), or an underlying auto immune disease that affects other parts of the body. Uveitis occurs most frequently in people ages 20 to 50.

Many cases of uveitis are chronic, and they can produce numerous possible visual complications, including clouding of the lens (cataract) or cornea, elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), glaucoma, and retinal problems (such as swelling of the retina or retinal detachment). Many of these complications can result in vision loss.

Symptoms of Uveitis

  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain

These symptoms may come on suddenly, and you may not experience any pain. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should see your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

How is Uveitis treated?

Treatment typically involves steroid eye drops, injections or pills, as well as eye drops to dilate the pupil to reduce the pain. More severe cases of Uveitis may require treatment with chemotherapeutic agents to suppress the immune system.