Uveitis

Uveitis is a condition of the eye that causes inflammation, or swelling, within the uvea. The effects of the condition can vary depending on which part of the uvea and eye is affected, whether it’s the front, middle or back.

Symptoms can include pain, sensitivity to bright light, and impaired vision. However, the signs aren’t always easy to recognise, making the condition more challenging to diagnose. Some patients may not experience any symptoms at all, resulting in it going undiagnosed for potentially months.

Most uveitis cases can be resolved with treatment. However, certain types can be more challenging to manage due to persistent and potentially sight-threatening inflammation, which may also affect nearby tissues and lead to permanent changes in vision.

Understanding the different types of uveitis

There are several types of uveitis that can affect different parts of the uvea. They include:

  • Anterior uveitis: Inflammation of the iris or ciliary body.
  • Intermediate uveitis: Inflammation of the ciliary body and front part of the choroid, often visible in the vitreous gel.
  • Posterior uveitis: Inflammation of the choroid and/or retina, including retinal blood vessels or the optic nerve head.
  • Panuveitis: Inflammation of all parts of the uvea.

Whichever type you experience, you can suffer acute, recurrent, or chronic uveitis.

How is uveitis treated?

The treatment you receive will depend upon the type that you have. Here’s a brief rundown of the main types of treatments used…

Eyedrops

Eyedrops are often prescribed to reduce inflammation in anterior uveitis. Corticosteroid eye drops help to treat inflammation at the front of the eye and may need to be used hourly or once each day depending upon the severity of the condition.

Cycloplegic or mydriatic eye drops may be prescribed in addition to steroid medication, although this is not always necessary. Cycloplegic drops can alleviate eye pain by temporarily paralysing the muscles of the iris and ciliary body. By reducing the movement of these inflamed muscles, the pain associated with this condition can be mitigated.

Medications

A variety of medications can be used to treat uveitis, including steroid or oral medications, alongside immunosuppressants.

Immunosuppressant medication may be prescribed as an alternative treatment if other methods prove to be ineffective. It could also be prescribed if the dose of steroid medication needs to be decreased due to significant side effects.

Implants/Injections

Injections are a common treatment option for intermediate or posterior uveitis. The injections can deliver steroid medication directly to the affected parts of the eye.

Steroid medication can be injected into the eye in liquid form, or via a small implant to treat non-infectious uveitis. Injections and implants are often recommended in cases where only one eye requires treatment, but they can be given to both eyes as needed.

Surgery

Surgical intervention may be required to manage the condition. However, this option is typically reserved for individuals with recurrent or severe uveitis that impacts the back of the eye.

In some cases, a procedure called a vitrectomy, which involves the removal of the vitreous, the gel-like substance that fills the eye, may be recommended as a means of treatment.

If you suspect you have uveitis or you want to seek the best possible treatment, book an appointment with Mr Zaid Shalchi today.