Uveitis is an inflammation of the eye, but it’s not an ordinary infection like with pink eye. Several types of uveitis may affect varying parts of your eye, including some that become chronic problems that can cause vision loss. Mark D. Sherman, MD, practicing at Pacific Eye in San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Lompoc, Paso Robles, and Santa Maria, California, as well as Optical Concepts in Santa Maria, is a fellowship-trained cornea specialist with extensive experience treating patients with uveitis. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sherman, call Pacific Eye or schedule an appointment online today.
Your eye is surrounded by three layers of tissues. The middle layer, the uvea, contains most of the eye’s blood vessels. This layer also includes your iris and a group of muscles (the ciliary body) that help your eyes focus by controlling the shape of the lens.
Uveitis, or chorioretinitis, refers to inflammation that generally occurs in the uvea, though it can affect other parts of your eye. Your uveitis may be acute and short-lived or become chronic, and in severe cases, it’s a frequently recurring condition.
Uveitis can also lead to serious complications like glaucoma and vision loss.
These are four different types of uveitis:
Anterior uveitis causes swelling near the front of your eye, affecting the area around the iris. It’s the most common type of uveitis and is usually acute, developing suddenly and going away within six weeks.
When swelling occurs in the uvea near the middle of your eye, it’s called intermediate uveitis. This type is the least common and is likely to become chronic, sometimes lasting years and going through recurring cycles of getting better, then flaring again.
Posterior uveitis causes inflammation in the uvea toward the back of your eye. It often affects your retina, which is outside the uvea, and choroid body, the part of your uvea that contains blood vessels, and may also involve the optic nerve well. This type usually develops in both eyes and can lead to vision loss.
When inflammation affects the entire uvea, you have panuveitis.
Uveitis develops from numerous problems and conditions, including:
In many cases, the cause of uveitis can’t be determined. However, it can arise from many possible health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and the Epstein-Barr virus.
Beyond the obvious symptoms of inflammation and swelling, with uveitis you may experience:
Your symptoms may affect one or both eyes. They can quickly worsen or develop slowly, depending on the type of uveitis.
At Pacific Eye, Dr. Sherman specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of uveitis.
The goal of treatment is to relieve your inflammation and pain and prevent vision loss due to the complications that arise from ongoing uveitis. Your treatment is customized depending on the type of uveitis you have and its underlying cause if one can be identified.
A few examples of treatment options include topical and systemic corticosteroids, eyedrops to lower eye pressure, and immunosuppressive and biologic agents.
For expert care from a fellowship-trained cornea specialist, call Pacific Eye or schedule an appointment online today to meet with Dr. Sherman.