Uveitis

Uveitis

Uveitis refers to a group of conditions which cause inflammation in the eye. There are many different types of uveitis with different treatments and different causes.

Most patients in the UK have anterior uveitis, also known as iritis. In most types of iritis it is thought that the body’s immune system has made a mistake and is attacking the eye instead of attacking bacteria. This results in a red, painful eye which is light sensitive and has blurred vision. In most cases it is not known why this happens but sometimes there is a related condition affecting other parts of the body. Low back pain from Ankylosing Spondylitis is the commonest association. If you have uveitis you should let your doctor know if you get any of the following problems as they may be related-

  • Bloody diarrhoea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Crohns disease

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Shortness of breath and cough

  • Coughing up blood

  • Tuberculosis

  • Low back ache

  • Joint pains

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Genital ulcers

  • Behcets

  • Herpes or cold sores

  • Rash

  • Psoriasis

  • Raised painful lumps on arms or legs (Erythema Nodosum)

  • Sarcoidosis

  • Lymphoma

  • HIV

  • Syphilis

  • Multiple Sclerosis

 

Most anterior uveitis is easily treated with steroid eye drops such as dexamethasone, maxidex or predforte. These are used frequently at first, usually every hour during the day for a few days, then the frequency is gradually reduced over several weeks until the drops are being used once a day then stopped completely.

is important to have yours eye checked as both uveitis and steroid eye drops can cause raised eye pressure which might need treating to prevent glaucoma. When treatment for uveitis is first started dilating drops are usually also prescribed. Dilating drops include cyclopentolate, tropicamide and atropine. These make the pupill big, reduce pain and stop the iris getting stuck to the lens. The dilating drops also temporarily paralyse the eye's focusing mechanism so most people experience blurred vision until they stop using them usually after 1 week.

 

Uveitis information group: www.uveitis.net

 

NHS Patient Advice: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Uveitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

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