Uveitis is an inflammatory disease that damages the eye. It affects different parts of the eye, including the lens, retina, optic nerve, vitreous and the uvea – which includes the iris, ciliary body and choroid. It primarily affects people between the ages of 20 and 50, but can occur at any age. It is a leading cause of vision loss in young adults and causes about 20% of legal blindness.
Each year, about 2% of the population is newly diagnosed with uveitis – a disease that takes various forms. It can be infectious or non-infectious. Your ophthalmologist will offer a more specific diagnosis, depending on where the disease is occurring in the eye.
Uveitis may develop quickly, affecting one or both eyes.
• Light sensitivity
• Flashing lights
• Dark, floating spots (floaters)
• Eye pain or redness
• Blurred or decreased vision
• Narrowing of the pupils
If you experience any of these symptoms, please visit your ophthalmologist.
Anterior uveitis is the most common form, predominantly affecting young and middle-aged people. It causes eye redness and pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity and small pupils. It occurs in the front of the eye and is often associated with other inflammatory and infectious diseases. Eye drops are the main form of treatment.
Intermediate uveitis mostly affects young adults and occurs in the vitreous. Usually, it is not painful, but causes blurred vision and floaters. It is often associated with other diseases.
Pediatric uveitis occurs before the age of 16 and accounts for approximately 5 – 10% of the patient population. The disease is difficult to pinpoint and treat in this age group, partly because the patient may be preverbal and partly because it is often associated with other conditions, such juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. It also affects different parts of the eye, leading to complexities in diagnosis and treatment. The rarity of Pediatric uveitis has resulted in a lack of awareness and clinical expertise.
Posterior uveitis is the least common form of the disease. It occurs in the back of the eye, affecting the retina and the choroid.
Four different kinds of medication are used to treat uveitis: cycloplegics, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These treatments work by eliminating inflammation, reducing pain, preventing tissue damage and restoring vision. These treatments involve different side effects, which you should discuss with your doctor. If left untreated, uveitis can cause lead to glaucoma, cataracts, and permanent vision loss. Download the printable fact sheet below for more detailed information about treatment options.
Uveitis Fact Sheet
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