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Posterior Uveitis

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

Pronounced: Koh-re-O-ret-E-ni-tis

Definition

Posterior uveitis is inflammation of the back segment of the uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. Posterior uveitis affects the retina and choroid, which are layers found in the back of the eye. The retina has the rods and cones that allow you to see.

Posterior uveitis is a potentially serious condition. Posterior uveitis requires care from your doctor to prevent vision loss.

Normal Anatomy of the Eye

AR00032_labeled eye
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

Posterior uveitis may be caused by infection or by autoimmune disorders. It may also appear as a result of an infection in the past.

Risk Factors    TOP

Factors that may increase your chance of posterior uveitis include:

Symptoms    TOP

Posterior uveitis may cause:

  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • Seeing floating objects in your vision
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Redness in the eye
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensation of sparks or flashes of light
  • Impaired night vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Distortion of objects

Diagnosis    TOP

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

To prepare for a complete eye exam, drops may be put in your eyes to numb them and to dilate your pupils. The slit lamp, a special microscope to examine the eye, will focus a high-powered beam of light into your eye to examine the cornea and other eye structures. The doctor may measure the pressure in your eyes.

Your bodily fluids may be tested to determine a possible cause. This can be done with blood tests.

Treatment    TOP

Treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms of posterior uveitis until it goes away. It is important to follow treatment recommendations to prevent complications or recurrence.

The underlying cause will also be treated.

Medications

Posterior uveitis may be treated with:

  • Oral or corticosteroid injections to control inflammation
  • Medications to treat infection (if present)
  • Medications that suppress the effects of the immune system
  • Biological response modifiers to change immune response

Prevention    TOP

There are no current guidelines to prevent posterior uveitis.

RESOURCES:

Iritis Organization
http://www.iritis.org
National Eye Institute (NEI)
https://nei.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.cos-sco.ca
Canadian Association of Optometrists
http://www.opto.ca

References:

Facts about uveitis. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis. Updated August 2011. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Posterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T326288/Posterior-uveitis. Updated October 11, 2017. Accessed December 14, 2017.
1/28/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T326288/Posterior-uveitis: Berrébi A, Assouline C, Bessieres MH, et al. Long-term outcome of children with congenital toxoplasmosis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010;203(6):552.e1-e6.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/11/2015

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