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Anterior Uveitis

(Uveitis; Iritis; Iridocyclitis)

Pronounced: You-vee-eye-tis

Definition

Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the front segment of the uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. Anterior uveitis affects the iris and ciliary body. It is a potentially serious condition. It requires care from your doctor to prevent vision loss.

Normal Anatomy of the Eye

AR00032_labeled eye
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Causes    TOP

In most cases, the cause of anterior uveitis is unknown. However in some, it may be caused by trauma or an infection. Infections associated with anterior uveitis include:

Risk Factors    TOP

Anterior uveitis may be more likely to occur in people with other health problems and autoimmune disorders, such as

Symptoms    TOP

Anterior uveitis may cause:

  • Red, sore, and watering eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pupil that is small or irregular in shape

Symptoms of Uveitis—Red, Sore, Watering Eyes

Eye Inflammation
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Diagnosis    TOP

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will also be done. An eye specialist will do a more extensive exam of the inside of your eye.

Blood tests may be done to look for other disorders causing or associated with anterior uveitis.

Treatment    TOP

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

Focus may be on treating the underlying cause of anterior uveitis.

Medications

Anterior uveitis may be treated with:

  • Corticosteroid eye drops to control inflammation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as eye drops (NSAIDs)
  • Cycloplegic (pupil dilating) agents to help decrease pain and light sensitivity, and to prevent the iris from sticking to the lens underneath
  • Topical beta agonists to help relieve pressure in the eye

Procedures

If other treatment methods fail, or your symptoms worsen, surgery may be needed.

It is important to follow up with your doctor and watch for signs of recurrence.

Prevention    TOP

There are no current guidelines to prevent anterior uveitis.

RESOURCES:

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

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

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

References:

Anterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T219075/Anterior-uveitis. Updated December 3, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Facts about uveitis. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/uveitis/uveitis. Updated August 2011. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Iritis overview website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed December 14, 2017.
Last reviewed Novembere 2015 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/11/2015

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