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Uveitis

Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Possible Symptoms for Uveitis

Uveitis results from inflammation in the middle layer of tissues in your eye. This condition typically affects adults between the ages of 20 and 50, although it can sometimes affect children as well.

Symptoms of uveitis may include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased vision
  • Dark spots in vision
  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes

Your symptoms may develop over a long period of time, or they may come on suddenly. Uveitis can affect one or both eyes.

There are four types of uveitis. Each type affects a different part of the eye:

  • Iritis affects the front of your eye. This is the most common type of uveitis.
  • Cyclitis affects the ciliary body, a part of the eye that connects the iris to the choroid.
  • Choroiditis and retinitis affect the back of your eye.
  • Diffuse uveitis affects all layers of tissue within the eye.

Top 4 Uveitis Causes

1. Injury or surgery

Uveitis often occurs after an eye injury. Both mild and severe injuries can trigger redness, pain, and inflammation in the eye. Some injuries can cause permanent damage to your eyes, so it's essential to seek medical care after any type of eye injury.

Eye surgery may also cause uveitis. If you develop uveitis after surgery, your symptoms may disappear once your eye heals. In some cases, uveitis may be a sign of a serious post-surgical complication. Tell your eye doctor about any new symptoms that appear after your surgery.

2. Infection

Bacterial and viral infections can both cause uveitis. Some diseases may clear up on their own, but others might require medical treatment. If your symptoms are accompanied by a fever or other signs of infection, seek medical advice.

3. Autoimmune disease or inflammatory disorder

Chronic inflammatory conditions often trigger inflammation in many body parts, including the eyes. These conditions may need special care. If you have a chronic disease, tell your doctor if you experience any changes in your vision.

4. Cancer

Most cases of uveitis are caused by minor health conditions. These conditions usually resolve on their own or clear up with outpatient care, but in rare cases, uveitis may be linked to certain forms of cancer. Early diagnosis can improve the outcome for many cancer patients. Report any new or worsening vision changes to your eye doctor right away.

3 Ways to Prevent Uveitis

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1. Use protective gear

Eye injuries often cause uveitis or other serious vision problems. To protect your eyes during physical activities, wear sports goggles or other protective eyewear. Eye protection is also essential when using harsh chemicals or power tools. Your eye doctor can provide you with more information about using protective gear.

2. Get yearly eye exams

Healthy adults and children should visit their eye doctor on a routine basis for a full eye exam. If you have certain medical conditions, you may need to see your eye doctor every few months. During an eye exam, your doctor examines your eyes for signs of infection. He or she can also screen you for serious eye conditions, like glaucoma or cataracts.

3. Quit smoking

Smoking can increase your risk for uveitis and many other serious medical conditions. If you're a current smoker, ask your doctor to help you develop a plan to quit smoking. Quitting tobacco can help reduce your risk for uveitis and other forms of eye inflammation.

Possible Uveitis Treatment Options

1. Steroids

Steroid medications can help reduce eye inflammation, eliminate redness, and relieve pain. If you're diagnosed with uveitis, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid eye drops, but oral steroid medications may also be helpful. In rare cases, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid implants. These devices are surgically inserted into your eye to control inflammation.

2. Pain medications

Some people find uveitis symptoms painful or distracting. To help with this, your doctor may prescribe pain medications to ease discomfort while your eye heals.

3. Treatment for chronic conditions

Uveitis is sometimes liked to a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis or lupus. If your symptoms are caused by a chronic disease, your doctor will treat the underlying condition to resolve your uveitis. In some cases, you may need to see a specialist to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

4. Photochromatic lenses

Many people with uveitis experience light sensitivity. Your doctor may recommend wearing sunglasses or photochromatic lenses. These lenses darken when exposed to UV rays and turn transparent when you're inside. Photochromatic lenses can eliminate the need to switch between regular glasses and sunglasses, which can make it easier for you to protect your eyes against painful UV rays.

5. Surgery

In rare cases, you may need surgery to manage your condition. If you need surgery, your eye doctor can help you review your treatment options and select the right procedure.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Uveitis Treatment

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Are any other parts of your body similarly affected?
  • Have you recently injured your eye?
  • Have you been exposed to pink eye or other infectious diseases?
  • When was your last eye exam?
  • Have you experienced any changes in your vision?
  • Are your symptoms interfering with your ability to go to work or school?