Uveitis

An inflammation or infection of the uvea requires the intervention of an ophthalmic specialist. The uvea is comprised of the middle pigmented vascular layer of the eye and includes the iris, ciliary body and choroid which is the layer next to retina. Uveitis is usually due to no underlying cause. However, uveitis can be due to underlying causes such as some forms of arthritis and colitis. Rarely, organisms can affect the retina or choroid. They included Herpes Zoster virus, Herpes Simplex virus, Cytomegalovirus (CMV). Fungal infections such as candida can also affect the eye particularly in immune deficient states such as HIV. Introduction of bacteria after surgery or trauma and other rare causes such as toxoplasma, toxocara and Lyme Disease are other rare causes.

What are the symptoms?

Redness of the eye and blurred vision are the most striking symptoms. There may be eye pain and sensitivity to light, the appearance of floaters and headaches should also cause concern.

What is the treatment?

Prompt referral and treatment is paramount in order to avoid complications of uveitis such as adhesions between iris and the lens thereby causing irregular pupil. Untreated uveitis can compromise vision due to cataract formation, glaucoma and macular oedema. Treatment is usually with steroid eye drops and in some cases tablets or ocular/peri-ocular injections. In chronic or resistant cases special agents to modulate immune response may be required.