Uveitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the eye. Uveitis is anatomically divided into either anterior or posterior uveitis, depending on which part of the eye is involved. Uveitis is further divided into infectious and non-infectious causes. Infectious uveitis may be caused by bacteria, viruses, and in rare cases fungi or parasites. Non-infectious uveitis may be associated with systemic inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or other connective tissue diseases. It is critical to determine the cause of uveitis so that appropriate treatment can be given. In about 30% of uveitis cases, the exact cause cannot be determined.
Common symptoms of uveitis include redness, pain, light sensitivity, decreased vision and floaters. Examination will determine the location, severity, and nature of the inflammation. The retina is not commonly involved in uveitis, but characteristic findings on examination can lead to a specific diagnosis. Fluorescein angiography, B-scan ultrasonography and optical coherence tomography may also be useful in evaluation and follow-up of uveitis patients. Finally, it is frequently necessary to obtain laboratory tests to determine the exact cause of uveitis, particularly with infectious uveitis.
The treatment of uveitis depends on the underlying cause, location and severity of the inflammation. Sometime steroid and dilating eyedrops are sufficient to treat the condition. More aggressive forms of uveitis may treatment with oral or injectable steroid medication. The most severe forms of uveitis may require immunosuppressive medications requiring the supervision of a rheumatologist. Surgery may be used in some cases to obtain biopsy material or clear inflammatory debris.
Complications of uveitis include scarring of the pupil, cataract, and glaucoma. With timely evaluation, work-up, appropriate treatment, and follow-up the majority of uveitis cases can be managed successfully.