Uveitis (Iritis) is commonly referred to as inflammation of the uvea or the middle part of the eye. This part of the eye consists of 3 parts: the iris, the ciliary body and choroid. The inflammation associated with uveitis may involve one, two or all of these three structures.
Uveitis may develop following eye trauma or surgery, in association with diseases affecting other organs in the body (such as sarcoidosis or toxoplasmosis) or may be a condition isolated to the eye itself. Severe and permanent visual loss can result from uveitis. In addition, uveitis can lead to other ocular complications, which may produce vision loss, including glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal damage. Early detection and treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.
Uveitis is commonly diagnosed by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, rheumatologist or, occasionally, a primary care physician. Patients are generally referred to a uveitis specialist who is expert at managing this sometimes chronic disease. Depending on which part of the eye is inflamed in uveitis different combinations of these symptoms may be present.
These symptoms may come on suddenly, and you may not experience any pain. The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have uveitis. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.
Treatment of uveitis may include steroid eye drops, injections, or pills, as well as eye drops to dilate the pupil and reduce pain. More severe cases of uveitis may even require infusion treatment to suppress the immune system.