Uveitis refers to inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye: the iris, ciliary body and choroid. Together, these form the middle layer of the eye between the retina and the sclera (white of eye). The uvea is the middle layer in the eye sandwiched between the retina (innermost layer) and the sclera (outermost layer). The uvea contains many blood vessels- the veins, arteries, and capillaries that carry blood to and from the eye. Since the uvea nourishes many important parts of the eye (like the retina), inflammation of the uvea can damage your sight. There are several types of uveitis, defined by the part of the eye where it occurs: iritis (anterior uveitis), pars planitis (intermediate uveitis), posterior uveitis, and panuveitis. Uveitis often remains unknown. In some cases, however, it can be associated with other diseases for infection in the body. Uveitis may be associated with: a virus (shingles, mumps or herpes simplex), systemic inflammatory diseases, result of injury to the eye or rarely a fungus. Studies have shown smoking contributes to the likelihood of developing uveitis.
Uveitis may develop suddenly with eye redness and pain or with a painless blurring of your vision. In addition to red eye and eye pain other symptoms include:
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Decreased vision and floaters
Uveitis is a serious eye condition that may scar the eye. It need to be treated as soon as possible. Eyedrops can reduce inflammation and pain. If left untreated, uveitis may lead to: glaucoma, cataract, and damage to the retina.
If you are planning an uveitis evaluation visit, your specialist may have you complete this Uveitis Questionnaire.
© eyeSmart® Eye health information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The Eye M.D. Association.