Uveitis refers to inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. The uvea has many blood vessels that provide nourishment to the eye. Uveitis may affect one or both eyes and can lead to severe and permanent vision loss, especially if untreated. Uveitis can cause vision loss in many ways including progressive clouding of the lens (cataract), increased eye pressure and optic nerve damage (glaucoma), swelling in the macula, increased floaters, compromised blood flow to the retina, and retinal detachment.
Uveitis can be classified as anterior, intermediate, or posterior based on level of involvement. In severe cases, all parts of the uvea may be affected and this is classified as panuveitis.
We do not always have a definitive cause for uveitis but it may be associated with infections, systemic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, eye injury (trauma, surgery), and certain medications. Smoking increases the risk of uveitis.
Symptoms of uveitis may include red eye, eye pain, increased sensitivity to bright light, increased floaters (specks or moving spots in vision), and blurry vision.
The standard of care for most patients with uveitis varies based on the level of involvement, severity, and cause. Your doctor may perform testing of eye fluids, blood testing, and imaging such as a chest X-Ray. Uveitis may require treatment with drops, eye injections, or oral medications.
The physicians of Retina Consultants of Austin are well-versed in the diagnosis and management of the varied presentations of uveitis. The key to the best visual outcomes is prompt evaluation and treatment.