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Uveitis

Uveitis (iritis, cyclitis, choroiditis, iridocyclitis, chorioretinitis, panuveitis) refers to inflammation of the uvea, the collection of vascular structures including iris, ciliary body and choroid that form the middle, pigmented layer of the eye.

Because uveal tissues contain many blood vessels, they are susceptible to inflammation. The definition of uveitis has been broadened to include inflammation of any internal eye structure, including the retina. If the inflammation involves only one or two structures of the eye, a more specific name is given (iritis, cyclitis, choroiditis, iridocyclitis, chorioretinitis). Inflammation of the entire eye is called panuveitis.

Uveitis is not a single disease. Inflammation in the eye may result from many different disease processes including infections, viruses, fungi, parasites, bacteria and other infectious agents. Uveitis may be a manifestation of various systemic disorders, including sarcoidosis, some arthritic syndromes and chronic intestinal diseases. It can also result from trauma to the eye. Uveitis occurs most commonly during young adulthood and middle life, but it can occur at any age. The eye generally tolerates mild degrees of inflammation without serious consequences. Severe, prolonged intraocular inflammation, however, can lead to serious complications that cause impaired vision or even blindness.

Symptoms

May be asymptomatic; severe uveitis with sudden onset may cause any of the following: blurring of vision, redness, sensitivity to light, and aching in the affected eye or eyes

Treatment

Corticosteroids to control inflammation before it damages the eye; immunosuppressive drugs and surgery for severe cases.

For more information, please see the section on our Immunology and Uveitis Service.