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Specialists in Uveitis

Information About the Field of Uveitis

What Is Uveitis?

Uveitis is an inflammation of the iris or other parts of the uvea. This can have different causes and occur in various forms.

Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body. On the other hand, center uveitis extends to the vitreous body, while posterior uveitis involves the retina.

The eye is a very complex organ. Several layers surround the eyeball or vitreous body. The cornea is on the very outside, serving to protect the eye. It curves in front of the iris and extends to just below the eyelids. The part inside the head, on the other hand, is surrounded by three layers of skin. The inner skin is the retina, which is instrumental in perceiving images.

The middle skin is the uvea. It consists of the choroid, which merges into the ciliary body and the iris in the lens area. The iris has a ring-shaped opening in its center, the pupil. The iris has the function of regulating the amount of light entering the eye by constricting or dilating the pupil.

Uveitis Symptoms

The disease can be acute or chronic. A chronic course initially causes hardly any symptoms. The inflammation is discovered by chance or only when it is far advanced.

In acute uveitis, different symptoms occur depending on the location of the inflammation; these are most severe in anterior uveitis. Here, patients complain of pain, redness of the eye, and sensitivity to light; in addition, a lot of tear fluid is produced, and visual disturbances may occur.

Center and posterior uveitis usually cause visual disturbances such as streaks, shadows, and fog. This type of inflammation is not painful, but there is a risk of retinal detachment, leading to blindness.

What Are the Known Causes?

Inflammation of the uvea can be caused by pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses) and autoimmune processes or entirely without any apparent cause. However, the most common reason is an underlying disease that supports the inflammatory process. Worth mentioning are in particular:

Diagnosis: How Is Uveitis Diagnosed?

First, the diagnosis must be made and confirmed. To do this, the ophthalmologist performs vision tests and assesses whether complications such as cataracts or glaucoma have already occurred. Using special techniques, he then examines the eye lens, the cornea, the eyeball, and the back of the eye, i.e., the retina. Irregularities, deposits, and changes that indicate inflammation can be detected in this way.

If there is a suspicion that uveitis manifests as a concomitant of another disease, further examinations by appropriate specialists are arranged.

Uveitis Therapy

Uveitis is treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops and ointments. In the case of a bacterial infection, these must also contain antibiotics. If the inflammation is located more in the back part of the eye, it may be necessary to administer the drugs by infusion or intraocular injection.

Treated uveitis usually heals within a few weeks, but it can progress to a chronic stage in some cases. Because affected individuals are at increased risk of reoccurrence, they should have regular checkups with an ophthalmologist.