Uveitis is an inflammation of the inside of the eye, specifically the layer of the eye called the uvea [comprising of the iris, ciliary body and the choroid].
*Unknown - The commonest type, this may well mean that the uveitis is of the autoimmune type. The word "idiopathic" may often be used to describe this group.
This affects the front of the eye, normally the iris (iritis) or the ciliary body (iridocyclitis). Iritis is by far the most common type of Uveitis and also the most readily treated. Iritis needs quite close monitoring because complications such as raised eye pressure and cataracts can occur.
This affects the middle of the eye, the ciliary body (cyclitis) or the pars plana (pars planitis).
This affects the back of the eye. That part of the uvea is called the choroid. An inflammation in the choroid would be called choroiditis. The inflammation may also arise in, or affect, the retina (retinitis) or in the blood vessels at the back of the eye (vasculitis).
Because of the quite diverse types of causes of Uveitis and also due to the many other medical conditions associated with it, one can expect to receive a number of tests and thorough questioning. It is important to establish the correct type of Uveitis so that the best treatment can be planned by the expert doctors at our hospital.
One of the most important things to remember about Uveitis is that:
There are many quite different causes and there are different types of Uveitis normally depending on which part of the eye is affected ie. anterior, intermediate or posterior
The treatment of Uveitis aims to achieve the following:
Like the varied nature of uveitis, the treatment of it may differ from case to case quite considerably. Corticosteroids are often the mainstay of treatment.
1. *Steroids & NSAIDS are used in the form of eye drops. Occasionally injections of steroids are used around the eye. These may be uncomfortable but are straightforward and are done at the Uveitis Clinic. At times steroid tablets are used. Occasionally, a situation may arise when rapid control of an acute episode of inflammation is needed. This may be if the sight is threatened and a high dosage of steroid needs to be delivered quickly. Side effects of prolonged use of steroid drops include raised eye pressure which may cause glaucoma and cataract, for which the eye is closely monitored.
2. Azathioprim / Cyclosporin tablets may be used with/without steroids tablets or injections to reduce the dosage of topical steroids or if side effects are a problem.
It is possible that the condition may be around for several years. The condition also varies in its severity enormously and can be quite unpredictable in its course. Remissions & Relapses may keep occurring. The main aim of the treatment is to thoroughly treat and monitor the inflammation so that it causes minimal or no damage to the eyes as and when the condition hopefully "burns out".
Uveitis, much more than most other medical conditions, offers a huge challenge for patients to understand their condition. Uveitis is complex. There are many different types of uveitis. There are many different causes, there are different parts of the eye which are affected, one or both eyes may be affected, and the severity of the disease may be extremely variable.
Our centre run Uveitis Clinics for the special purpose of preserving sight in conditions such as uveitis.