What is Uveitis?
Uveitis is inflammation of the uveal layer of the eye which consists of the iris (blue or brown portion of the eye), ciliary body (produces the aqueous humor), and choroid (the vascular layer between the retina and sclera (white portion of the eye).
Basic Classification or Types of Uveitis
Anterior uveitis involves the iris and anterior chamber.
Posterior uveitis involves the posterior portion of the eye consisting of the ciliary body and choroid.
Pan-Uveitis or Diffuse Uveitis
This type of uveitis involves both the anterior and posterior portions of the eye.
What are the Symptoms of Uveitis?
Photophobia or sensitivity to light
Causes of Uveitis
The most common cause of uveitis is never found out or diagnosed which may comprise as much as 75% of cases.
Autoimmune diseases such as
Fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis
Presumed ocular histoplasmosis
Variety of arthritic diseases
Inflammatory bowel disease
White Dot Syndromes
Treatment of Uveitis
Treatment obviously depends on the etiology of the uveitis.
Some of the treatments include:
Corticosteroids (cortisone or prednisone) are the mainstay of treatment for uveitis. Most cases can be treated with topical drops applied to the eye. The steroids can also be injected on the outside of the eye.
Intravitreal Injection of Corticosteroids
In more severe cases, the corticosteroids are injected inside the back of the eye.
Intravitreal Implant Containing Corticosteroids
An Intravitreal implant containing dexamethasone made by Allergan can be injected into the vitreous. It is biodegradable and releases the steroid over a 6 month period.
The Retisert is surgically placed in the back of the eye manufactured by Bausch and Lomb. It releases the steroid for approximately 30 months.
Methotrexate is an antimetabolite that is used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases.
Adalimumab has been used to treat uveitis. It is a humanized monoclonal anti-TNF-alpha compound. Another possibility is Infliximab.
Anti-inerleukins has been used in more severe forms of uveitis.
Uveitis is an inflammatory disease of the uvea and needs to be diagnosed early with treatment starting as soon as possible. Many cases are mild and can be easily treated. The severe forms of uveitis can be difficult to treat and can lead to blindness. If you are having any of the symptoms of uveitis, see you eye doctor immediately.