What is Uveitis:
Anterior uveitis affects the front of the eye. It is often called iritis because it mainly affects the area around the eye’s iris. Anterior uveitis is the most common kind of uveitis in children and adults making up 40-70% of all uveitis. It is usually acute and is associated with pain, light sensitivity and redness.
Intermediate uveitis is inflammation of the ciliary body, the front end of the retina, and the vitreous. Intermediate uveitis is the least common type of uveitis, making up only 7-15% of cases. It is also known as iridocyclitis, pars planitis or vitritis. Symptoms include floaters and blurry vision. People with intermediate uveitis are more likely to have chronic inflammation. Chronic uveitis is defined as uveitis lasting longer than six weeks.
Posterior uveitis is inflammation of the choroid, retina and optic nerve. It can be seen in 15 to 22% of uveitis types. Generally it is chronic (long standing – can last weeks to months to years), recurrent and can affects both eyes. The underlying cause can often be a result of an immune disease. Infections caused by the organism toxoplasmosis are the most common cause of posterior uveitis.
Uveitis usually results in a red, tearing, painful, light-sensitive, irritated eye. The vision may also be blurred.
Uveitis is third leading causes of blindness in the United States due to secondary cataract formation, corneal changes, retinal inflammation, retinal detachment, and secondary glaucoma.
Uveitis has multiple causes such as trauma, infectous diseases, and auto-immune diseases.
Infectious diseases that can cause uveitis include:
- Cat-Scratch Fever
- Lyme Disease
Auto-immune diseases that can cause uveitis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Behcet's disease
- Anklylosing spondylitis
- Reiter's disease
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- HLA B-27 disease.
Sometimes, it is necessary to establish whether the uveitis is a result underlying systemic disease.
The Doctors at Capital Eye will take a detailed medical history, and may order blood tests, x-rays, and a skin test for tuberculosis. Even with all of the testing, over 90% of cases are not found to have an underlying cause. If an underlying cause is determined, we work with the appropriate doctors to get it treated/resolved.
Diagnosis is made by careful eye examination in our office. We use special microscopes to view the anterior and inside of the eye to look for inflammation of the cornea, vitreous, and retina.
Most cases of uveitis can be managed with topical eye drops. These include a steroid anti-inflammatory drop, non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drops, and dilating drops. Some advanced cases will require oral medications and/or injections of anti-inflammatory medications. During treatment, patients are observed carefully at our office. Treatment usually requires 4 to 8 weeks of follow-up. Some people have chronic re-occurences and must be treated for each episode.