Uveitis is a general term for inflammation and infections inside the eye. Depending on which part of your eye is affected, you may be diagnosed with something more specific. For example, when the pigmented parts of your eye including the colored iris, are inflamed, it is called iritis or anterior uveitis. Other types of uveitis are vitritis (intermediate uveitis) and retinitis or choroiditis (posterior uveitis). No matter where the inflammation is located or what caused it, this condition can affect vision and cause complications in other vital parts of your eye.
Because uveitis occurs for many reasons, seeing a qualified eye specialist is important. The skilled physicians at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, examine your eyes thoroughly to ensure that you get the right treatment for your specific situation. If an eye injury or infection caused your uveitis, your treatment focuses on that particular condition. If a disease elsewhere in your body caused the uveitis, you may be able to control it by treating the underlying cause.
What Are the Symptoms of Uveitis?
Typically, symptoms appear suddenly and worsen quickly. They may include:
- Eye redness
- Eye pain
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)
- Decreased vision
What Caused My Condition?
Many conditions cause uveitis, including:
- Eye injury or surgery
- Inflammations related to the eye, such as birdshot chorioretinopathy or pars planitis
- Inflammations related to other disorders, such as sarcoidosis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis or Crohn's disease
- Infections inside or outside the eye, such as cat-scratch disease, herpes zoster, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, Lyme disease or West Nile virus
- Cancers that affect the eye, such as lymphoma
Recent studies also show uveitis is more common and more severe in people who smoke cigarettes. If you have uveitis and smoke cigarettes, you should consider stopping.
Eye inflammation may lead to more serious problems if left untreated, including other eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or loss of eyesight. If you have been diagnosed with uveitis or a related condition called scleritis, schedule an exam with one of our specialty ophthalmologists.
Blood Tests and X-rays - Certain standard blood tests are performed on all uveitis patients. If necessary, more testing focused specifically on your condition, including X-Rays, will be done. You may need to see a medical specialist to help with your diagnosis.
Eye Fluid Analysis - In some cases, your doctor may take a small sample of fluid from the front part of your eye to help diagnose your condition rather than perform a vitrectomy. Some viral infections can be diagnosed in this way.
Eye Angiography - Photographs of the eye, taken after fluorescent dyes are injected into a vein in your arm, help evaluate blood flow in the retinal blood vessels. This helps your doctor determine if the retina or uvea in the back of the eye is inflamed.
Eye Photography - Using the most modern photographic techniques, your doctor examines the inside of your eye, measuring the thickness of the retina and detecting other signs of inflammation. These tests take only seconds to perform and are easy and painless for patients.
Oral Medications - Many medications treat uveitis, but treatment must be tailored to your specific condition.
Injected Medications - When injected into the eye, drugs such as corticosteroids, slow-dissolving steroid pellets or very slow steroid release devices help some patients control their uveitis.
Vitrectomy - Removing the vitreous (a gel-like substance in the middle of your eye) may help control uveitis if you have intermediate uveitis. Vitrectomy is also used to remove vitreous samples for study in the lab to reach a more precise diagnosis.
Why Choose Bascom Palmer Eye Institute?
#1 for Ophthalmology in the Nation. When your vision is at stake, you need the country’s top ophthalmologists on your side. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Bascom Palmer the best in the country for eye care. Worldwide, we are considered one of the finest and most progressive centers for ophthalmic care, research and education.
Respected Leaders. Our full-time faculty of internationally respected physicians and scientists represent every eye care sub-specialty. Widely recognized for their contributions to vision care, their knowledge of research, diagnostics and treatments has, in many cases, revolutionized ophthalmologists’ understanding and management of eye diseases and disorders.
Compassionate Patient Support. Coping with a painful, potentially serious eye condition is stressful. Your eye health team seeks to relieve your stress with a patient, helpful approach to care.
Inclusive and Innovative Care. When you have a serious eye condition, you need convenient, full-service care in one location. Our team-based approach, sophisticated technologies and multidisciplinary experts ensure you get the services you need to restore your vision.