What Is Uveitis?

Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea — the middle layer of tissue in the wall of the eye that includes the iris — that causes swelling and can destroy eye tissue. It can occur in one or both eyes, and its symptoms often appear suddenly and worsen quickly.

Uveitis is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can cause glaucoma, cataracts, optic nerve damage, retinal detachment, and permanent vision loss. As such, it’s crucial to diagnose the condition as quickly as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Uveitis?

Uveitis manifests in similar ways as other eye conditions. Its symptoms can include:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark floating spots in your field of vision

If you are experiencing eye pain or severe sensitivity to light — or if you experience any sudden changes in your vision — you should consult an ophthalmologist immediately.

The root cause of uveitis can be difficult to pinpoint, but the condition can be brought on by infection, injury, or an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. Some people may be genetically predisposed to uveitis, and research shows a link between smoking cigarettes and developing uveitis. Though it can occur during childhood, uveitis typically affects people between the ages of 20 and 60.

How Is Uveitis Treated?

Identifying and treating uveitis early is the most important step to preventing complications and possible permanent vision loss. Eye drops that reduce inflammation are the most common treatment, but if uveitis results from an infection, antibiotics or antiviral medication may be prescribed.

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