Tuesday, Mar 1, 2022 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month’s topic will be another cause of red eye called uveitis.

What is uveitis and what causes it?

Uveitis is inflammation of one or both eyes. It can be classified as anterior or posterior. The focus here will be anterior. This means that the structures in the front part of the eye are affected. Uveitis can be acute or chronic and it can recur.

Often the uveitis is caused by an underlying condition in the body. These can be infections, inflammatory disorders, and certain types of cancers. There are also some cases where a cause is not identified.

What are the symptoms?

Uveitis symptoms may occur suddenly or develop gradually. Usually, the eye is red and may be painful. Sensitivity to light is common and occasionally one may experience blurry vision. There are many underlying conditions that are associated with uveitis and symptoms may occur due to those conditions.

How is this diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam is needed to diagnose uveitis. The eye exam includes checking visual acuity and eye pressure, slit lamp exam, and dilated eye exam to look for inflammation. Blood tests or other testing may be needed to diagnose the underlying cause of the uveitis.

What are the treatments?

Steroid eye drops are the mainstay of treatment to treat the inflammation. Drops that dilate the eye are used to treat the pain. If there is an underlying condition causing the uveitis, that is treated as well with antibiotics or other anti-inflammatory medications. If the inflammation is more severe, steroid injections or pills may be needed. Oral medications are also used for cases that are chronic or that recur.

Remember, there are many causes for red eyes. Make sure to see an ophthalmologist for any new symptoms and get treatment if necessary.

Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!

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