Uveitis: Uveitis is a general term describing a range of conditions that cause inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, the uvea, and surrounding tissues. These diseases can slightly reduce vision or lead to severe vision loss. It can be painful, the eye or eyes may be red, and vision may be cloudy.
Uveitis may be an injury to the eye, a viral or bacterial infection, or it can be part of an inflammatory disease affecting other parts of the body. If uveitis is untreated, it can lead to vision loss. It can affect one or both eyes. It chiefly strikes people aged from 20 years to 60 years.
Types of Uveitis
There are 3 types of uveitis, based on which part of the uvea is affected. Eye care specialists may explain the disease more specifically as:
- Anterior uveitis- Swelling of the uvea near the front of the eye is called anterior uveitis. It commences swiftly and symptoms can last up to 8 weeks.
- Intermediate uveitis- Swelling of the uvea in the middle of the eye is designated as intermediate uveitis. Symptoms of intermediate uveitis can last for a few weeks to many years.
- Posterior uveitis- Swelling of the uvea toward the back of the eye is called posterior uveitis. Symptoms of posterior uveitis can develop gradually and last for many years.
- Panuveitis uveitis- Pan-uveitis is a term used while all three major parts of the eye are affected by inflammation. Behcet’s disease is one of the most well-known makes of pan-uveitis and it hugely damages the retina.
Causes & Risk Factors for Uveitis
- Eye injury or surgery
Uveitis can be linked to many diseases including:
- Behcet’s syndrome
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- CMV retinitis
- Kawasaki disease
- Herpes zoster infection
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
- Vogt Koyanagi Harada’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Cancer that affects the eye, such as lymphoma
Symptoms of Uveitis
Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. The signs, symptoms, and characteristics of uveitis include:
- Blurred vision
- Eye redness
- Dark, floating spots in the vision (floaters)
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Decreased vision
The signs and symptoms of uveitis depend on the type of inflammation.
Acute anterior uveitis may happen in one or both eyes and is characterized by eye pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and redness.
Intermediate uveitis causes blurred vision and floaters. Usually, it is not associated with pain.
Posterior uveitis can create vision loss. This kind of uveitis can only be distinguished during an eye examination.
Diagnosis of Uveitis
Diagnosis of uveitis comprises a thorough eye examination and the patient’s complete medical records. Lab tests may be conducted to rule out an infection or an autoimmune disorder.
The eye exams include:
An Eye Chart: This test measures whether a patient’s vision has decreased.
A Funduscopic Exam: The pupil of the eye is dilated with eye drops and then a light is shown through with an instrument designated an ophthalmoscope to noninvasively inspect the inside part of the eye.
Ocular Pressure: An instrument, such a tonometer, measures the pressure inside the eye. Drops that numb the eye may be used for this test.
A Slit Lamp Exam: A slit lamp noninvasively investigates the eye. It can examine the front and back parts of the eye and with a tonometer to measure eye pressure. A dye called fluorescein, which makes blood vessels easier to see, may be combined to the eye during the examination. The dye only temporarily stains the eye.
Treatment of Uveitis
If the eye specialist settles you have uveitis, the physicians will probably prescribe a steroid to diminish the inflammation in the eye. Uveitis treatments principally try to eliminate inflammation, alleviate pain, prevent moreover tissue damage, and recover any loss of vision. Whether the steroid is given as an eye drop, pill or injection depends on the type of uveitis you have. Because iritis affects the front of the eye, it’s regularly treated with eye drops.
Anterior uveitis may be treated by:
Taking eye drops containing steroids, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation.Taking eye drops that dilate the pupil to prevent muscle spasms in the iris and ciliary body.
Intermediate, Posterior, and Pan-Uveitis Treatments:
Intermediate, posterior, and pan-uveitis are often treated with injections around the eye, medications given by mouth, or, in some instances, time-release capsules that are surgically implanted inside the eye. Other immunosuppressive agents may be given, such immunosuppressive agents taken by mouth may be used when the disease is occurring in both eyes, particularly in the back of both eyes. A doctor must make sure a patient is not fighting an infection before proceeding with these therapies.
Complications of Uveitis
If uveitis is untreated, uveitis can cause serious complications, including: