Inflammatory Eye Disease
Uveitis is a term given to a group of diseases that cause inflammation to the eye. It mainly affects the uvea but it can also affect the lens, retina, optic nerve and vitreous.
The uvea consists of the iris (the coloured part on the front of your eye), ciliary body (circular structure that is an extension of the iris) and the choroid (vascular layer of the eye between the sclera and retina). These are all in the anterior to intermediate area of the eye, between the sclera and the inner layer of the eye called the retina.
Symptoms can include:
redness of the eye
sensitivity to light
Anterior uveitis: This is the most common form and it usually occurs in young to middle-aged people. It affects the front of the eye, usually only one eye, and most of the time occurs in healthy people. It can, however, be associated with autoimmune diseases.
Intermediate uveitis: This type of uveitis mostly affects the vitreous (the gel-like fluid located just before the retina). It is caused by several disorders, most commonly sarcoidosis and multiple sclerosis.
Posterior uveitis: This is the least common type and occurs in the back of the eye. It can be caused by both infectious and non-infectious conditions.
Panuveitis: This type occurs when all three major parts of the eye are affected by inflammation. The well-known form is Behcet's disease.
Anterior uveitis is usually treated with dilating drops to stop muscle spasms in the iris and steroidal drops to reduce inflammation.
Intermediate, posterior and panuveitis are treated with injections around the eye, oral medication or in some instances, time-release capsules that are surgically implanted inside the eye.