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Posterior Uveitis

(Chorioretinitis; Choroiditis; Retinitis; Retinal Vasculitis; Vitritis)

How to Say It: Koh-re-O-ret-E-ni-tis

Definition

Posterior uveitis is inflammation of the back part of the uvea known as the choroid. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. Early treatment can improve outcomes.

Normal Anatomy of the Eye
AR00032_labeled eye

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

This problem may be caused by:

  • An infection
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Systemic diseases, such as Behcet disease

In some people the cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Exposure to pets, raw or undercooked meat, or contaminated water
  • Having the HLA-A29 gene

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Blurry or loss of vision
  • Seeing floating objects
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Redness in the eye
  • Eye watering
  • Sensing sparks or flashes of light
  • Problems seeing at night
  • Problems seeing color

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests will be done to look for signs of infection.

Your eyes will be tested. This can be done with:

  • A sight test
  • A special scope and lamp that look at the back of the eye
  • A tool that measures the pressure inside the eye

Treatment

Any underlying causes will be treated.

The goal of treatment is to ease inflammation. This can be done with medicine. Choices are:

  • Corticosteroids to control inflammation
  • Medicines to treat an infection
  • Medicines to suppress the immune system
  • Biological response modifiers to change the immune response

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

Iritis Organization
http://www.iritis.org

National Eye Institute
https://nei.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Optometrists
http://www.opto.ca

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.cos-sco.ca

REFERENCES:

Mandelcorn ED. Infectious causes of posterior uveitis. Can J Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb;48(1):31-39.

Posterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/posterior-uveitis. Accessed March 23, 2021.

Uveitis. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis. Accessed March 23, 2021.

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 03/23/2021