What is uveitis?
Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea or uveal tract. Uveitis usually affects people aged 20 to 59, but it can occur at any age, including in children. Men and women are affected equally.
Symptoms of uveitis
- eye pain – usually a dull ache in or around your eye
- eye redness
- sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- blurred or cloudy vision
- small shapes moving across your field of vision(floaters)
- loss of peripheral vision (the ability to see objects at the side of your field of vision)
The symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually over a few days. One or both eyes may be affected by uveitis.
CAUSES OF UVEITIS
Many cases of uveitis are linked to a problem with the immune system (the body’s defence against illness and infection). For
unknown reasons, the immune system can become overactive in the eye.
Less often, uveitis can be caused by an infection or an eye injury, and it can also occur after eye surgery. In some cases a cause can’t be identified.
TYPES OF UVEITIS
There are different types of uveitis, depending on which part of the eye is affected:
- uveitis at the front of the eye (anterior uveitis or iritis) – it can cause redness and pain and tends to come on quickly
- uveitis in the middle of the eye (intermediate uveitis) – it can cause floaters and blurred vision
- uveitis at the back of the eye (posterior uveitis) – it can cause vision problems
Uveitis can sometimes affect both the front and the back of the eye.
This is known as panuveitis.
Uveitis at the front of the eye is the most common type of uveitis, accounting for about three out of four cases.
TREATMENTS FOR UVEITIS
The main treatment of uveitis is steroid medication which can reduce inflammation inside the eye. Several different types of steroid medication may be used, depending on the type of uveitis you have. Eye drops are often used for uveitis affecting the front of the eye, whereas injections, tablets and capsules are more often used to treat uveitis affecting the middle and back of the eye. In some cases,
other treatments may also be needed in addition to corticosteroids. These include eye drops to relieve pain or widen (dialte) the pupil. The sooner uveitis is treated, the more likely the condition can be successfully treated.
Although most cases of uveitis respond quickly to treatment and cause no further problems, there is a risk of complications. The risk is higher in people who have intermediate or posterior uveitis, or who have repeated episodes of uveitis.
Complications of uveitis include glaucoma and retinal damage and can cause permanent damage of the eye and loss of vision.
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Ranelagh Medical Centre,
22-26 Sandford Road,
Naas, Co. Kildare
Vista Eye Clinic
Vista Primary Care Centre,
Ballymore Eustace Road,