Uveitis types and causes

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Uveitis is the inflammation of the eye’s uvea, the middle layer of the eye. But in practical, any kind of inflammation involving the interior of the eye may be referred as uveitis. Patients with any signs of uveitis must receive an urgent referral and thorough exam from an eye doctor. This kind of eye inflammation must be treated and controlled as soon as possible, because it is responsible for nearly 10% of blindness cases in the U.S.

UveitisDifferent types of uveitis

Based on different parts of the uvea, there are several types of uveitis. The most common type called anterior uveitis refers to the inflammation of the iris and anterior chamber. This form of uveitis accounts for more than two thirds of all uveitis cases. Differently, inflammation of the ciliary body is called intermediate uveitis. Posterior uveitis refers to inflammation of the choroid and retina. A more serious form named diffuse or pan-uveitis is the inflammation of the whole uvea.

Uveitis symptoms and consequential complications

Different types of uveitis have their own symptoms. While anterior uveitis causes strong pain, redness, light sensitivity and blurry vision, both intermediate uveitis and posterior uveitis are usually painless. People between 20 and 50 are most likely to suffer uveitis, which may bring a wide variety of eye-related complications such as cataract, high IOP, glaucoma, retinal swelling and retinal detachment. All of these complications may bring vision loss.

Systemic disorders and infectious causes

In many cases, uveitis is idiopathic. Trauma to the eye can help your ECP to identify the underlying causes. Potential immunological systemic disorders that can cause uveitis include ankylosing spondylitis, birdshot retinochoroidopathy, brucellosis, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis etc. There are still some infectious causes, e.g. herpes simplex, Lyme disease, Syphilis and Toxocariasis.

Corresponding treatments for various uveitis

Varying types of uveitis require different forms of steroids to relieve inflammation in the eye. For example, anterior uveitis needs steroid eye drops, while posterior uveitis usually requires steroid tablets or steroid injection. The dosage of steroid treatment (especially pills) must be precise, since there are various potential side effects such as kidney damage, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and glaucoma. Patients should always strictly follow the doctor’s instructions. Furthermore, pupil-dilating eye drops can be used to reduce pain caused by anterior uveitis. Elevated IOP can be lowered by other forms of eye drops. The Bausch & Bomb’s drug Retisert has received FDA approval to treat chronic non-infectious posterior uveitis. Other drugs are undergoing clinical trials.