Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the layer of tissue between the retina (the innermost layer) and the sclera (the outermost strong white wall of the eye).
The uvea contains many blood vessels that carry blood to and from the eye. Since the uvea nourishes many important parts of the eye (such as the retina), inflammation of the uvea can damage your sight. Uveitis is a serious condition that may scar the eye and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Common symptoms or uveitis include: light sensitivity, blurred vision, pain, floaters, redness.
Uveitis may develop suddenly with redness and pain or with a painless blurring of your vision. A case of simple red eye may in fact be a serious problem of uveitis. If your eye becomes red or painful, you should be examined and treated by an ophthalmologist. It is possible that the doctor may order tests to help make the diagnosis.
Uveitis has many different causes:
1) a virus, such as shingles, mumps or herpes;
2) a fungus, such as histoplasmosis
3) a parasite, such as toxoplasmosis
4) related disease in other parts of the body, such as arthritis, gastrointestinal disease or lupus
5) a result of injury to the eye
In most cases of uveitis, the cause of the disease remains unknown.
There are different types of uveitis, depending on which part of the eye is affected.
Iritis: It's when the uvea is inflamed near the front of the eye in the iris. Iritis has a sudden onset and may last six to eight weeks.
Cyclitis: It's when the uvea is inflamed in the middle of the eye, affecting the muscle that focuses the lens. Cyclitis can also develop suddenly and can last for several months.
Vitritis: It's when the inflammation involves the vitreous.
Choroiditis: The inflammation is in the back of the eye. This type is slower to develop and may last longer.
To reduce the inflammation and pain patients are prescribed steroid eyedrops and sometimes pupil dilators. For more severe inflammation, oral medication or injections may be necessary.