What is uveitis?

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uveal tract within the eye. The uveal tract is part of the vascular tissue that makes up the inside of the eye and includes the iris and the choroid. The most common type of uveitis is iritis (anterior uveitis).

Sometimes uveitis can also be linked to systemic inflammation, for example, arthritis, inflammatory bowl disease and sarcoidosis. Uveitis can also occasionally be caused by infections within the uvea.

What are the symptoms of uveitis?

Most patients with uveitis present with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Eye pain
  • Decreased vision
  • Redness of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Floaters

How can the doctor determine the extent of Uveitis?

The doctor will perform an examination using a slit lamp, with dilated pupils, to determine which part of the uvea is inflamed and if there is any effect on the center of your retina.

Red painful eye with Iritis (Anterior uveitis)

What tests are performed?

Your Eye Doctor may request blood tests and X-rays to identify if there is any underlying systemic disease.

Sometimes further testing of the eyes is important because it helps the doctor to precisely document the effects of uveitis on the retina and measure changes that occur. The three types of tests described below may be performed in our clinic.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a high definition image of the retina with a resolution of five microns. These images can determine the presence of swelling and cystoid macular edema by measuring the thickness of your retina. The doctor may use OCT images to objectively document the progress of the disease throughout the course of your treatment.

Fundus photography is an image taken by a digital fundus camera to document and follow any inflammation in the back of the eye.

Fluorescein angiography is a test that documents blood circulation in the retina using fluorescein dye that luminesces under blue light. Fluorescein is injected into a vein in your arm and digital fundus pictures are taken afterwards for 10 minutes. These pictures show the location of inflammation and swelling. Your Eye Doctor will explain these pictures to you in more detail.

Posterior uveitis with vasculitis

What treatments are available?

Steroid drops are the main treatment for uveitis. Drops to dilate the pupil may also be used. Sometimes anti-inflammatory injections or pills are necessary to treat the inflammation if it is more severe.

What follow up is required?

Return visits with your Eye Doctor are recommended to monitor your eyes. It is important to detect changes in your condition and formulate a treatment plan as required.

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