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What Causes Uveitis and How to Treat It


Uveitis is a type of eye inflammation that can cause your vision to become blurry and may even lead to vision loss. If you experience any of its symptoms, you should see your eye doctor for uveitis treatment to alleviate your symptoms and keep them from becoming more serious.

The following explains what you need to know about uveitis, including what causes it and the types of uveitis treatment your eye doctor may use:

What Is Uveitis?

Uveitis is inflammation in your eye. It affects the uvea, which is the middle layer of your eye that’s between the sclera (the white of your eye) and the retina (a light-sensitive layer that lines the back of the eye). This layer has many blood vessels that help nourish the eye. In addition to damaging the uvea, uveitis can also harm other parts of the eye.

This condition can sometimes go away quickly, and it can also be a chronic (long-term) problem. You can have uveitis in one or both eyes.

There are four different types of uveitis, and they’re classified according to the part of your eye that’s affected:

Types of uveitis

  • Posterior uveitis – affects the retina or the choroid (a vascular structure responsible for about 85% of the blood flow to the eye) in the inside of the back of your eye
  • Anterior uveitis – affects the inside of the front of your eye between the cornea and iris as well as the ciliary body (which produces fluid in the eye and helps change the shape of your lens when you focus on a nearby object)
  • Intermediate uveitis – affects gel in the center of your eye and the retina and blood vessels just behind the lens
  • Panuveitis – affects all layers of the uvea

What Causes Uveitis?

In many cases, the cause of uveitis isn’t clear. In cases where a cause is identified, it may be related to one of the following:

  • An autoimmune or inflammatory disease – such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, AIDS, or sarcoidosis – that affects other parts of your body
  • An infection or a related condition such as shingles, syphilis, or reactive arthritis
  • An eye surgery or injury
  • A side effect of medication

How Does Uveitis Affect Daily Life?

The symptoms of uveitis can occur in one or both eyes, happening gradually or coming on suddenly and getting worse quickly. They can have a large impact on your daily life since you may not be able to see well to drive, use devices like your cell phone or computer, or read.

You may also experience uncomfortable symptoms. Uveitis can make your eyes red or cause pain or blurred vision. It can also make your eye more sensitive to light or cause you to see dark floating spots or wavy lines called floaters. If uveitis isn’t treated, it can sometimes cause vision loss.

What Are Some Types of Uveitis?

Eye doctors administer uveitis treatment with the goal of suppressing the inflammation and reducing its resulting side effects, such as pain, blurry vision, or even vision loss. If you have an underlying condition, such as muscular dystrophy, that’s causing your uveitis, it may also need to be treated.

Uveitis treatment may also depend on which type of uveitis you have, based on its location, and you may receive more than one type of treatment. Intermediate uveitis, panuveitis, and posterior uveitis treatment may be treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications if it’s caused by an infection. It may also be treated by steroids, which can be given by injection, pill, intravenously, or by an implant that releases the medication into your eye over time.

Yutiq, a new type of implant, is sometimes used as a form of posterior uveitis treatment. This tiny implant is placed in your eye at the doctor’s office and delivers a steady stream of medicine for up to three years. It does not need to be removed.

Anterior uveitis treatment may include steroid eye drops or ointments, eye drops that widen your pupil, or eye drops that lower your eye pressure. If your uveitis is caused by an infection, you may be given antibiotics or antiviral medication.

If you notice symptoms that could indicate you have uveitis, make an appointment to see your eye doctor. They will work to determine its cause and will recommend one or more forms of anterior, intermediate, panuveitis, or posterior uveitis treatment to relieve your symptoms and preserve your vision.