Uveitis is an eye condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the uvea, which consists of the vascular structures of the eye, including the iris, ciliary body, and choroid.
The uvea is the middle layer which is present between the retina and the sclera (the white of the eye). As the blood vessels of the uvea provide nourishment for many parts of the eye, untreated uveitis can damage your eye and vision.
Uveitis can also be linked with disease in other parts of the body, such as sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Uveitis is found to be the cause of 10%-20% of the blindness and the third leading cause of blindness in developed countries.
Types of Uveitis
- Anterior uveitis (Iritis) affects the front of the eye, and is the most common type of uveitis. Acute anterior uveitis generally develops suddenly and an episode may last 6 to 8 weeks. Chronic anterior uveitis may last for many years.
- Intermediate uveitis (pars planitis) affects the middle or intermediate region of the eye. This type of uveitis is typically persistent, and may go through cycles of getting better, then worse. Episodes of sudden uveitis can last between weeks to years.
- Posterior uveitis basically affects the back of the eye, namely the retina and choroid. It can develop suddenly or slowly and usually can last for years.
- Panuveitis describes inflammation of all parts of the eye.
Diagnosis & Treatment of uveitis
A perfect diagnosis of uveitis will require an eye test which will be performed by an ophthalmologist and a thorough recording of the patient's medical history to determine an underlying cause.
Tests like Blood tests, X-rays, skin tests, and biopsies will also be required to make a proper diagnosis. These tests will help identify the type of uveitis and how to treat it.
An inflammation that is typically caused by anterior uveitis is generally treated with corticosteroid drops and pupil dilating drops to decrease inflammation and prevent scarring.
Sudden uveitis, posterior uveitis, and panuveitis usually require more complex treatment involving corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents.