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Uveitis

Condition typically affecting patients 20 to 50 years old

Condition


Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the center section of the eye made up of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. Causes of uveitis include allergens, viruses, bacteria, chemicals/medications, autoimmune diseases, and direct trauma to the eye.

Risk factors


Uveitis occurs most frequently in people aged 20 to 50. It is more common in women than men, and more likely to develop with age. Uveitis can also be caused by autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, or by exposure to toxins. It can also be associated with AIDS, psoriasis, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and several other conditions and infections.

Symptoms


Symptoms include:

  • Red eyes

  • Burning sensation

  • Itchy eyes

  • Discharge and/or tearing

  • Blurry vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Floating dark spots in your field of vision

  • Pain or soreness of the eye

Treatment


Treatment addresses the underlying cause, whether infectious, autoimmune, or related to medication or trauma.  Therefore, uveitis is usually treated in conjunction with your primary care physician, infectious disease specialist, or rheumatologist.  Systemic control of the underlying disease is achieved with oral or IV antibiotics, antivirals, steroids, immunosuppressive, and pain medications.  Eye drops and possibly injections in the eye with these agents are also usually warranted.  Wearing sunglasses and using dilating drops can significantly improve light sensitivity and ocular irritation from the uveitis.

Uveitis generally goes away with proper treatment, but relapses are common, especially when the underlying condition still exists.  Vision can be permanently affected.



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