Living with uveitis: A complete guide into symptoms, causes, and treatment
Uveitis can be understood as a group of inflammatory conditions that affects the middle layer of the eyeball called the uvea. Uvea lies beneath the sclera (the white part of the eye). It is made up of iris, choroid, and ciliary body. Uvea and surrounding structures jointly control various eye functions, like regulating distances of objects and varying levels of light. Uveitis can potentially damage eye tissues, leading to permanent vision loss.
What causes uveitis?
Uveitis can have many causes. It can happen because of some viral or bacterial infection, autoimmune disorders, eye injury, etc. Though in many cases, the reasons remain unknown.
Several autoimmune disorders that might be associated with uveitis are:
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Ulcerative colitis
Infections that might be the cause for uveitis are:
- CMV retinitis
Other causes for uveitis include:
- Exposure to some toxin that gets inside the eyes
There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate uveitis, like:
- Redness and swelling in the eyes
- Eye pain
- Light sensitivity
- Lower visual acuity
- Floaters in the vision
- Noticing alteration in the colour of the iris
- Blurred vision
These signs and symptoms can happen in one eye or both. Depending on the severity, uveitis can develop rapidly or gradually in people.
Types of uveitis
There are various types of uveitis. Depending upon where the inflammation has taken place in the eyes, the type can be classified. These are as follows:
Anterior uveitis is also called as iritis. Iritis affects the iris and is the most common type of uveitis. Iris is the coloured part of the eye that adjusts the amount of light that enters. It is considered the least severe type of uveitis and occurs mostly in healthy people.
Intermediate uveitis is also known as iridocyclitis. Pars plana lie in the middle part of the eye between the iris and the choroid. This uveitis can happen in healthy people but is mostly associated with people having some autoimmune diseases.
Posterior uveitis is also known as choroiditis. Posterior uveitis affects the choroid. People with autoimmune disorders or infections, like from a virus or fungus, have posterior uveitis. It is a more severe type of uveitis because it could cause scarring in the retina.
Pan uveitis causes inflammation in all layers of the uvea. It affects major parts of the eyes.
Your eye specialist will do a comprehensive eye checkup to know about signs, symptoms in detail. Your doctor might also speak to you about medical history. Your eye specialist will further understand if the cause of uveitis is an infection or some underlying disease.
Through a slit lamp test, your ophthalmologist will determine which area is foggy or clear in your eyes. When the light enters the eye, if the patient has uveitis, he/she will feel pain when pupil contracts. Your doctor may ask for further blood tests.
Untreated uveitis can lead to many complications, like:
- Loss of vision
- Retinal detachment, an eye emergency
- Fluid in the retina
- Band keratopathy
If a patient promptly acts and takes appropriate treatment, he/she can recover from uveitis timely. Uveitis treatment is dependent on the type and causes of the condition.
- Anti-inflammatory medication or antibiotics is given, in case there is an infection. The doctor can prescribe you eye drops or ointment. In some cases, you might get injections as the goal is to reduce inflammation.
- If the patient's symptoms are severe and there are chances of vision loss, then drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) can be prescribed.
- Mydriatic eye drops are given to dilate the pupil and help the eye heal. It also helps in reducing eye pain dramatically.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of uveitis, then visit Centre for Sight, an eye care hospital that strives for excellence. We also provide treatment for myriad eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinoblastoma, squints, amongst many. Our uvea specialists care for your eyes and do thorough testing before starting the treatment. Therefore we are equipped with the latest technology and expert eye specialists to treat you in the best possible way. We are headquartered in Delhi but have a vast reach across the nation.
Article: Living with Uveitis: A complete Guide
Author: CFS Editorial Team | July 13 2020 | UPDATED 12:25 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.