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    • 27 DEC 16
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    Uveitis and Iritis

    The eyeball has the shape of a soccer ball. There are three different coatings of tissue surrounding the central ocular cavity, (which is called the vitreous space). The outermost coating is the sclera which is a white collagenous structural and protective layer. The innermost is the retina which converts light images in to signals that result in vision.

    Layers of the Human EyeThe in between layer the uvea. The uvea contains many blood vessels that contribute to the eye’s circulation. It has a dark red color like a “grape” and has been given the name “uvea” after the Latin word for grape “Uva”. Uveitis is inflammation of this middle layer of the eye. Since the uveal circulation nitrifies the eye, uveitis can damage vision.

    There are different types of Uveitis

    Anterior iritis affects the iris (pupil) and is the most common type. Anterior iritis usually has a sudden and usually clears after treatment with steroids drops for a few weeks. The patients have red inflamed and light sensitive eyes with inflammation deposits visible at the biomicroscope.

    Image of Uveitis in the Human Eye
    Intermediate uveitis (also called cyclytis). Intermediate uveitis also develops suddenly but lasts longer. As this form of uveitis involves the focusing muscles patients can have blurry eye strain.

    Posterior uveitis. Posterior uveitis affects the uvea closest to the retina. Posterior uveitis manifests slowly and can last for months or years.

    Retinal photo of sarcoidosis posterior uveitis

    Retinal photo of sarcoidosis posterior uveitis

    Panuveitis is the condition where uveitis assaults all parts of the uvea simultaneously.

    Causes of Uveitis

    The causes of uveitis vary:

    1. Traumatic uveitis
    2. Infectious uveitis (mumps, shingles, herpes virus, parasites, fungus or STDs)
    3. Uveitis associated with systemic autoimmune conditions (juvenile or adult rheumatoid arthritis lupus, sarcoidosis, sacroilitis, polyarteritis or CREST syndrome).

    Uveitis can be a serious condition that can cause ocular problems. The inflammation can incite cataract formation, spike the intraocular pressure (glaucoma) make the retina swell (macular edema) and other problems that could lead to visual impairment and permanent damage to the eye.

    How Eye Doctors Treat Uveitis

    Treatment should be immediate. The mainstay of treatment is steroid drops (and in more serious cases steroid pills or injections). Sometimes imaging studies are necessary to help evaluate and monitor some of the effects of uveitis.

    Fluorescein angiogram to evaluate macular edema from uveitis

    Fluorescein angiogram to evaluate macular edema from uveitis

    When uveitis incites eye pressure, cataracts, retinal swelling or other complications patients may need treatment for those disorders in addition to the care provided to clear the uveitis.

    If a patient presents with a painful light sensitive eye that does not clear up quickly it is advised they see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

    For more information on Uveitis and Iritis, or to schedule an appointment with one of our eye surgeons, contact Westchester Eye Surgeons today.

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