Have you ever visited the optometrist for light sensitive, sore eyes? They may have diagnosed you with something called uveitis (also known as iritis), prescribed you several medications to combat it, and possibly ordered or performed some extra tests to find the specific reason for it. Uveitis is quite common and has many causes. Read on to learn about some of these, along with what is going on in your eyes during uveitis and what can be done about it.
Uveitis Types and Processes
Uveitis is a word that describes inflammation of the uveal tract, which is the middle layer of the eye that includes the iris (colored portion), ciliary body (focusing muscle), and choroid (full of blood vessels). It results from an immune reaction of the body inside these tissues and a leakage of white blood cells into them with resultant swelling and pain. This is also why one becomes so sensitive to light in uveitis. The iris, with the pupil in the middle of it, is always increasing or decreasing in size in response to the amount of light that is entering your eyes. If it is inflamed, these light response movements cause constant pain, just like walking on a sprained ankle would.
Uveitis can be classified in many ways because it can take many forms. It might be focused in one part of the uvea (at the front, middle, or back of the eye) or all of them at once. It may happen only once, or recur several times. It could last a few weeks, or stick around for months.
The Causes of Uveitis
Uveitis can be caused by autoimmune conditions, where your body mistakes its own tissues as a foreign enemy. It can also be caused by infections, trauma, or, rarely, cancer. Most commonly, however, there is no identifiable cause for a flare up of uveitis, and if it is not severe and has never happened before, our eye doctor will likely not investigate further with extra tests. Uveitis with an unknown cause that is localized to the iris is the most common type of all.
Treatment and Managementof Iritis
Treatment for uveitis is aimed at decreasing the amount of inflammation in the eye, as continued inflammation can lead to further problems later on. This is done with corticosteroid eye drops, often dosed at one drop every hour at first to quickly decrease the amount and severity of inflammation. After the uveitis is under control, the frequency of taking these drops will be decreased very slowly so that the uveitis does not suddenly flare up again. For this reason, it is very important to follow our eye doctor’s instructions closely.
In addition to the steroid drops, our optometrist will likely prescribe drops to make your pupils bigger, which will stop the iris moving in response to light. This will decrease pain, speed healing, and prevent the inflammation from damaging other parts of the eyes. If there is a clear cause of the uveitis, such as an infection in the eye, that underlying cause will be treated by our eye doctor or referred as necessary to the appropriate medical provider.
Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye disese. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to be evaluated for uveitis or iritis. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler, provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.
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430 Arlington Rd. Suite B | Brookville, OH 45309 | 937-770-1265