The Danger of Uveitis
Inflamed, red eyes sounds unattractive and painful, but more importantly, it could signal an infection that causes uveitis, and this can not only be painful, it can lead to vision loss if left un treated. In fact, uveitis is the fifth leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and unlike many degenerative eye diseases, uveitis mainly affects people aged between 20 years and 60 years.
The good news is that Uveitis is a treatable condition, so it’s important to visit your local Kelowna Optometrist if you notice any of the uveitis symptoms mentioned below.
What Is Uveitis?
Uveitis is the condition of inflammation of the uvea. The uvea is also known as the uveal layer, uveal coat, uveal tract, or vascular tunic. It is the pigmented layer that sits between the inner retina and the outer layers of the sclera and cornea. This layer includes the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid.
- The iris is the colored part of the eye surrounding the pupil
- The choroid is the vascular middle layer between the sclera and the retina.
- The ciliary body is the ring of muscle behind the iris that connects the iris with the choroid
Uveitis refers to inflammation of any part of the inside eye, not just the uvea. When uveitis is present, any or all of these areas can become inflamed causing damage to the eye tissues.
Causes and Types of Uveitis
There are many potential causes of uveitis. It can be caused by an eye injury, a viral or bacterial infection, an underlying disease, or inflammatory or autoimmune disorders.
There are a few different types of uveitis that generally relate to the area of eye affected.
- Anterior uveitis or iritis refers to inflammation of the iris and can be cured within a few days of treatment.
- Intermediate uveitis refers to inflammation of the vitritis, and usually takes longer to heal than anterior uveitis.
- Posterior uveitis refers to inflammation of the retina and choroid at the back of the eye and can take a few months to fully heal.
- Pan-uveitis refers to inflammation of the entire uvea, also takes a few months to heal.
Signs of Uveitis
Symptoms of uveitis can be mild and benign in the beginning stages of infection, but these symptoms should not be ignored incase they develop into a more severe infection. Uveitis can cause some or all of the following:
- Blurred or cloudy vision
- Floaters or specs in the eye that float around the field of vision
- Sensitivity to light
- A change in the color of the iris
- Red eyes
- Painful eyes
If you notice any of the above signs, you can contact our Kelowna optometry clinic at 250 762 2090
Kelowna Uveitis Treatment
Luckily, surgery is not usually required, and uveitis can be treated effectively in Kelowna with good results. However, lack of treatment may result cataracts, glaucoma, band keratopathy, retinal edema, and permanent vision loss.
When the doctor has completed their diagnosis, one of the following Kelowna uveitis treatments will be recommended.
- Antibiotics or antiviral medication will be used if an infection is the cause.
- Corticosteroid medications may be prescribed for severe cases or cases where antibiotics or antivirals are not suitable. These can take the form of eye drops (prednisolone acetate), oral tablets, or as an injection into the eye.
- Immunosuppressants can be prescribed for advanced cases where there is a high risk of vision loss, or if other treatments have been ineffective.
- Mydriatic eye drops, such as atropine or cyclopentolate are used to dilate the pupil and help the eye heal.
If you are experiencing any signs of uveitis, it is important to get your eyes checked as soon as possible. They say eyes are the windows to the soul, but eye diseases or infections can also reveal an underlying health problem.
Make sure you schedule routine eye checkups; it could save your vision, and more importantly, it could save your life.