Uveitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea- the middle layer of the tissue in the eyewall. It can cause redness, pain, and blurred vision. The symptoms of uveitis may come suddenly and can worsen readily.  Although, it is not a serious condition. But if left untreated, it can cause vision loss. It can affect one or both eyes, affecting people of all age groups, even children too. Uveitis can occur due to infectious and non-infectious causes.


Symptoms 


  • Eye redness

  • Eye pain

  • Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)

  • Decreased vision

  • Light sensitivity

  • Blurred vision


Causes


The exact cause of uveitis is unknown. It can occur due to various reasons like a bacterial infection, viral infection, or any autoimmune disease. 


Autoimmune disease is the condition in which your immune system attacks the healthy cells of your body. The conditions that can cause uveitis are;


  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • ankylosing spondylitis

  • psoriasis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • sarcoidosis

  • arthritis

  • ulcerative colitis

  • Kawasaki disease


Infectious diseases that can cause uveitis are;


  • AIDS

  • herpes

  • CMV retinitis

  • Histoplasmosis

  • West Nile virus

  • syphilis

  • toxoplasmosis

  • Tuberculosis


Other health conditions that can cause uveitis are;


  • exposure to a toxin that penetrates the eye

  • bruising

  • injury

  • trauma


Types 


According to the part of uvea inflamed, uveitis can be classified as follows;


Anterior uveitis


It is the type of uveitis in which inflammation occurs in front of the eye. Anterior uveitis is also called iritis because it affects the iris- the colored part of the eye. It is the most common form of uveitis that can even affect healthy people. 


Intermediate uveitis


Intermediate uveitis affects the retina and the blood vessels just behind the lens. It also affects the vitreous gel in the center of the eye. 


Posterior uveitis 


It affects the retina or choroid- the layers placed at the backward of the eye. 


Panuveitis 


It is a condition, in which front to back, all the layers of the uvea are inflamed.


Risk Factors


The risk factors for uveitis can be;


  • Any changes in the genes

  • Cigarette smoking


Complications 


Uveitis can lead to complications like;


Cataract- the clouding of the eye lens that causes blurry vision.


Fluid accumulation in the retina.


Glaucoma- elevation of intraocular pressure in the eye. 


Retinal detachment- it is a vision-threatening condition in which the retina detaches from the eyewall. 

Loss of vision


Treatment 


The treatment of uveitis depends on its type and cause. If it occurs due to any underlying condition, treating it can help eliminate uveitis. However, treatment aims to get rid of inflammation. 


The treatment of iritis, also known as anterior uveitis, is;


  • Wearing dark sunglasses

  • Instilling eye drops that help dilate the pupil 

  • Instilling analgesic eye drops



The treatment for posterior uveitis is;


Steroids taken by mouth or given as injections


The treatment for intermediate uveitis is;


Instilling steroid eye drops and steroids taken by mouth.


If uveitis occurs due to bacterial infection, then antibiotics are given to treat the condition. However, mostly it requires immunosuppressant drugs like corticosteroids to stop the hyperactivity of your immune system. 


Conclusion 


Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea- the middle layer of the tissue in the eyewall. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss. If you have any signs or symptoms of uveitis, you should visit the healthcare provider as soon as possible. 

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