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Uveitis (Iritis)

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What is Uveitis (Iritis)?

Uveitis is commonly referred to as inflammation of the uvea, the middle part of the eye. The uvea is made up of three parts: the iris, the ciliary body, and choroid. The inflammation that comes with uveitis may involve one, two, or all three of these structures.

Uveitis can develop following eye trauma or surgery, from diseases affecting other organs in the body (such as sarcoidosis or toxoplasmosis), or as a condition isolated to the eye itself. Sometimes the origin of the inflammation may go undiagnosed.

Uveitis can lead to severe and permanent vision loss. In addition, uveitis can lead to other complications that cause vision loss, including glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal damage.

Symptoms of Uveitis (Iritis)

Different combinations of these symptoms may be present:

  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Ocular pain

Symptoms may come on suddenly, with or without pain. Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have uveitis. But, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.

Early detection and treatment are necessary to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.

Uveitis is often diagnosed by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, rheumatologist or, occasionally, a primary care physician.

UR Medicine's Treatments for Uveitis (Iritis)

UR Medicine’s Flaum Eye Institute manages uveitis using a team approach based on the patient's age and which part of the eye is affected. Because diagnosing the source of uveitis can be complex, multiple medical specialties become involved. Generally, your uveitis specialist will direct these resources and interpret results to develop a treatment plan customized to your condition.

Treatment of uveitis may include steroid eye drops, injections, or pills, as well as eye drops that dilate the pupil and reduce pain. More severe cases of uveitis may require infusion treatment to suppress the immune system.

Sometimes complications of uveitis and consequences related to treating uveitis may require the involvement of other areas of ophthalmology, such as corneal specialists, cataract surgeons, retina doctors, and glaucoma specialists.  

What Sets Us Apart?

We offer the region’s only dedicated uveitis service. We medically and surgically treat all stages of the disease in both children and adults. We’re the only care center between Cleveland and New York City to offer all ophthalmology specialties related to the treatment of uveitis under one roof. 

Our main facility includes our own surgery center on the second floor of Strong Memorial Hospital, just below the Eye Institute’s faculty practice clinic. We have a second ambulatory surgery center located on Sawgrass Drive.

Equipped with the region’s most up-to-date surgical equipment, we’re able to routinely perform complex procedures that were once referred to eye care centers hundreds of miles away, saving you time and keeping you close to home.

We’re also part of National Clinical Trials and are ranked in the top 20 in eye research funding in the United States, including an NIH-funded studies about immune responses in eye disease. So, you can be assured that our care is informed by the latest scientific discoveries.


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