Uveitis

The uvea is the middle layer of the eye located between the retina and sclera which contains the iris, ciliary body and choroid. When this layer becomes inflamed, the condition is called uveitis. The condition can affect patients of any age group, present with a variety of visual symptoms, affect one or both eyes, and have an acute or chronic course.
Uveitis Image

Symptoms

There are three different types of uveitis and are classified by the area of the uvea that is affected. Anterior uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the iris. Intermediate uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the ciliary body. Posterior uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the choroid. Patients with anterior uveitis experience symptoms of pain, redness and light sensitivity while patients with intermediate and posterior uveitis usually have painless blurring of vision.

Causes

Uveitis can be caused by internal or external conditions ranging from autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis as well as bacterial, viral or fungal infections. If an underlying disease is suspected to be responsible for the inflammation, a medical workup may be initiated in order to isolate the cause. In many cases a cause cannot be identified despite a thorough investigation.

Treatments

Treatment options are based on the type and underlying cause of the condition. In cases of non-infectious uveitis, anti-inflammatory medications including steroids in the form of eye drops, oral medications or injections can be used to reduce the inflammation. In cases of infectious uveitis, antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the responsible organism.