Uveitis is an inflammation in the middle layer of the eye affecting three structures: the iris (the colored part of the eye), the ciliary body (surrounding muscle tissue) and the choroid (blood vessels). Uveitis can affect all or just one of these structures. Left untreated, it can cause permanent damage and loss of vision from the development of glaucoma, cataracts or retinal edema.
What causes Uveitis?
Uveitis often develops as a complication of other eye diseases or in association with other health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, rubella or mumps. Eye trauma can also cause the condition, and in many cases there is no underlying cause.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of uveitis include a red, sore inflamed eye, blurred vision, excessive blinking, sensitivity to light and pain. The normally clear cornea may appear dull or a hazy blue. Symptoms can appear suddenly, and there may be no pain.
How is Uveitis diagnosed?
Uveitis is diagnosed by examining the eye with instruments that magnify and illuminate the structure of the eye during a dilated eye exam. Once uveitis is diagnosed, a general health exam is often recommended to determine the cause.
What are the treatment options?
Medication is most often used to treat uveitis. Corticosteroids in the form of injections, drops or oral medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation as well as eye drops to dilate the pupil and reduce pain.