Uveitis: Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Signs of an eye infection can be severe, especially if it begins to damage parts of your eye that you require to see. U

veitis is just one of many infections that can occur, and it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms, its causes, and how it’s treated to ensure that it won’t cause lasting problems with your vision.

What is Uveitis?

Uveitis is an eye infection that occurs along the middle layer of the eyeball. It causes the eyeball to become inflamed and swollen and affects the uvea layer of the eye explicitly. This inflammation occurs when the immune system attempts to fight off an infection. However, it can also mean that the immune system is attacking the healthy eye tissue, which can lead to vision loss. 

The uvea is the middle layer between the white eye part and the retina. It contains the iris, ciliary body, and choroid, parts of the eye that contain the color, lens, retina, and sclera, all used to help our eyes maintain our vision. 

There are three types of uveitis, all of which are based on which area of the uvea is affected. These types include: 

  • Anterior Uveitis: The swelling occurs along the front of the eye, starts suddenly, and its symptoms tend to last many weeks. Its symptoms can be either ongoing or inconsistent. 
  • Intermediate Uveitis: Intermediate uveitis causes swelling in the middle of the eye, and its symptoms can last from a few weeks to many years. Its symptoms go through cycles of getting better and worse and need constant long-term treatment to manage. 
  • Posterior Uveitis: Posterior uveitis affects the back of the eye, and its symptoms can develop gradually and last for many years, especially without treatment. 

All three of these types can co-occur, affecting all layers. The most common symptoms that occur with this condition include blurry vision, floaters, red eyes, eye pain, and light sensitivity. Anyone can be at risk for this condition, but it’s most common for people between the ages of 20 to 60. Smokers are also at an increased risk of uveitis. 

How Can Uveitis Be Diagnosed and Treated? 

Ophthalmologists don’t always know what causes this condition, but some causes include AIDS, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It can also be caused by infectious diseases such as shingles and syphilis and also be caused by cancers of the eye. 

Once diagnosed by your eye doctor, many treatments could help ease symptoms and prevent vision loss. Depending on the cause of the condition, treatment doesn’t always lead to cures, especially if the cause is unknown. However, some treatments that can be used include steroid injections, medicated eye drops, steroid pills, and even surgical implants to prevent vision loss. Treatment plans depend on many factors, such as which part of the eye is infected and other health conditions, but no matter what, your doctor is here for you. To learn more, schedule your annual eye exam today to see the best treatments to keep your eyes healthy. 

Dr. Paul D. Trapeni JrAt The Optical Shoppe, we're dedicated to optometry excellence under the guidance of Dr. Paul D Trapeni. Serving the Smyrna community since 1989, Dr. Trapeni is a trusted member of the community, bringing general and specialized optometry care to individuals and families throughout the area.