Uveitis is a form of inflammation occurring in the middle layer of tissue in the eye wall called the uvea. The uvea contains several parts: the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. The most frequent causes of uveitis are:
Infection such as herpes simplex virus, herpes zoster virus, ocular tuberculosis or ocular syphilis.
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and sarcoidosis.
Idiopathic diseases. In these cases, following an extensive diagnostic study, the cause of the uveitis is still unclear. The majority of uveitis fall under this category.
What are the symptoms of uveitis?
The common symptoms of uveitis are eye redness, eye pain and a reduction in sharpness of vision. However, not all cases of uveitis show these symptoms and some patients may not show any symptoms until the condition is very advanced. If you have any of these symptoms it’s vital that you contact an ophthalmologist for a check-up. In the case of eye redness, uveitis can easily be confused with conjunctivitis. However, uveitis doesn’t show any increase in eye discharge.
Uveitis can reoccur meaning that some cases are chronic in nature but with periods where symptoms disappear. With recurring cases of uveitis or when these are severe, other complications can occur such as cataracts, glaucoma, inflammation of the central area of the retina and even detachment of the retina itself.
How can uveitis be treated?
The first stage of therapy is treating the cause of uveitis (antiviral drugs if the uveitis is caused by a herpes virus, antibiotics if tuberculosis is the cause). In order to find the cause of uveitis, numerous tests may need to be carried out, including a blood test and an x-ray of the chest area. However, despite these diagnostic studies and as mentioned previously, it’s often impossible to determine the exact cause of uveitis.
As well as treating the cause of the condition, the inflammation must also be treated. At Clínica Castilla we can offer patients several different types of medication to treat the inflammation that can be administered in drops or orally such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and immunomodulators.
Diagnosis and treatment of uveitis can sometimes be complex and require the collaboration of various specialists (ophthalmologists, rheumatologists and internists).