Retinal Consultants of Arizona Presents – Uveitis Patient Education
Uveitis specifically refers to inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, termed the “uvea.” In common usage, uveitis refers to any condition causing inflammation within the eye. Uveitis is a rare condition and it is classified based on the location of the inflammation.
The symptoms of uveitis include: light sensitivity, blurred vision, pain, floaters, and redness of the eye. It can develop suddenly or progress slowly over time. These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have uveitis. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.
Uveitis has many different causes, including infectious and non-infectious sources. Infectious causes include a virus (such as shingles or herpes simplex), a fungus (such as histoplasmosis), a parasite (such as toxoplasmosis), or bacteria. Sometimes the inflammation is related to a disease in other parts of the body, such as arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, or collagen vascular disease such as lupus. Finally, uveitis can also develop as a result of injury to the eye. In most cases of uveitis, the cause of the disease remains unknown.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will likely order blood tests, skin tests, or x-rays to help make the diagnosis. Specific photographs of the eye and retina, termed fluorescein angiography, may be obtained in the office to help establish the extent of the inflammation. Treatment may include any combination of steroid eye drops, injections, or pills. Dilating eye drops are also used to reduce scarring and pain. More severe cases may even require treatment with chemotherapeutic medications to suppress the immune system.