Uveitis refers to an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. The following article describes this condition with respect to its types, causes, symptoms and treatment options.
The middle vascular layer of the eye is termed uvea, and is located between the retina and the sclera (white of the eye). This layer consists of the iris, choroid, and the ciliary body. An inflammation of this vascular layer is termed uveitis, and is usually the result of injury and autoimmune disorders. It is categorized into:
- Anterior uveitis, which affects the iris
- Intermediary uveitis, wherein the vitreous mirror is affected
- Posterior uveitis, in which the back of the eye gets inflamed
No specific cause has been determined for this condition. However, in most cases, uveitis has been observed in case of eye injury, as well as in autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. It has also been associated with herpes, tuberculosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cat-scratch disease, toxoplasmosis, and certain kinds of cancers.
Common signs and symptoms include blurred vision, extreme sensitivity to bright light, pain in the eyes, and eye redness. In some extreme cases, affected people can also see floating spots in their field of vision. Decreased vision, and the occurrence of white area inside the lower part of the iris, may also be a repercussion of an eye inflammation.
The focus of the treatment is to detect the underlying condition, and deal with it as soon as possible, to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Recommended treatment includes corticosteroid eye drops, and medication in the form of oral tablets, or injections to be administered in the eye.
In some cases of posterior uveitis, the treatment may include the implantation of a device in the eye. This device releases corticosteroid drugs with a slow pace, and is generally retained for about 2½ years.
If corticosteroids do not help, immunosuppressants or cytotoxic agents are recommended. These help in controlling the inflammation, and preventing the stage of vision loss. In case of an eye infection caused by bacteria or virus, antibiotics or antiviral drugs are prescribed.
Surgery is usually reserved as the last option, and involves the removal of some parts of the vitreous in the eye. It also aids in getting rid of any kind of scar tissue in the vitreous. This condition tends to recur. Hence it is important for the patient to seek medical care, if the symptoms reappear even after successful treatment.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.