Uveitis

Inflammation of the inner layer of the eye is called uveitis. Although uveitis primarily affects the uvea, it can spread to other eye areas and cause harm. The uvea is the tissue layer in the eye that sits between the outermost sclera (the white of the eye) and the innermost retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye).

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

It is most frequent in 20 to 59-year-olds, although children can get it too.

There are several known reasons. It can be autoimmune illnesses like Ankylosing spondylitis, Behcet's disease, Lupus, Multiple sclerosis, etc. Sometimes an infection or infection-related disease causes it, like Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, Histoplasmosis, Toxoplasmosis, etc.

Uveitis manifests with a variety of symptoms, including:

  • A dull aching in or around your eye, which may be aggravated when focusing
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Eye redness
  • A vision that is hazy or fuzzy
  • Tiny forms darting across the field of vision (floaters)
  • Visual impairment that prevents you from perceiving things on the sides of your frame of view (peripheral vision)

The following are components of a typical eye exam:

  • Visual acuity test to check for vision impairment using eye charts
  • Tonometry to evaluate intraocular pressure in the eye
  • The slit-lamp examination involves using a specialized microscope known as a slit lamp to look into the patient's eye.
  • An eye doctor will dilate your pupils during an examination to get a better look at the structures of your eyes with a magnifying lens.

Eye doctors may also perform further tests to check for underlying causes; some examples are:

  • Antibody and antibody levels in the blood to rule out infections and autoimmune disorders;
  • Check for systemic inflammatory reasons through imaging of the chest or brain;
  • Fluorescein angiography to view retinal blood vessels; 
  • Gonioscopy to look inside the draining chamber at the front of the eye;
  • Image the retina and other structures in the back of the eye with great detail using optical coherence tomography (OCT);
  • A visual field exam to detect any injury to the optic nerve that could impair the peripheral vision 

Treatment

Infectious uveitis can be treated with antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals.

Eye drops can alleviate discomfort and inflammation by causing the pupils to dilate. Eye drops can also prevent anterior uveitis complications like the iris and lens adhering together. If there is eye pressure, eye drops may be recommended.

Anti-inflammatory medications, including corticosteroids (steroids), reduce eye inflammation. Drops, ointments, oral pills, injections inside or around the eye, intravenous (IV) infusions, and capsules surgically implanted inside the eye are all examples of these drugs.

Immunosuppressants suppress the immune system, reducing the body's inflammatory response to autoimmune illness or other forms of systemic inflammation. These medications are recommended if a patient has bilateral uveitis that does not improve with steroid treatment and is threatening his eyesight.

Early detection and treatment for uveitis-related disorders, infections, or other health conditions can help prevent damage to the eyesight.

References

National Eye Institute (2022). Uveitis. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/uveitis

 

Cleveland Clinic (2022). Uveitis. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14414-uveitis

 

National Health Services (2022). Uveitis. Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/uveitis/

Last Updated: February 21, 2024