Inflammation inside of the eye is called uveitis. Some cases of uveitis can result in blindness. Prompt referral to a retina specialist,experienced and trained in managing uveitis, is important.
Types of Uveitis
Uveitis describes inflammation of the uvea—one of the tissue linings of the eye.
Inflammation of eye the can be classified into a lot of different groups.
One simple classification is anterior uveitis, or iritis, which involves the front part of the eye. Posterior uveitis describes inflammation of the back portion of the eye.
Causes of Uveitis
There are many different causes of inflammation. Many cases , however, are termed autoimmune.
Autoimmune uveitis means that the body is reacting to its own tissue.
A number of causes of uveitis may be related to other, broader problems.
Examples of eye inflammation associated with systemic problems include inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease), inflammation of the genitourinary tract (Reiter’s syndrome, or reactive arthritis), inflammation of the mucosal lining of different parts of the body (Behcet’s disease), to name a few.
Diagnosis of Uveitis
Diagnosis of uveitis can be simple, to more involved. In many cases, a retina specialist experienced with handling intraocular inflammation is involved.
Focused lab tests and sometimes scans of different parts of the body may be useful.
Lab tests look at markers in the body that show levels of inflammation, or proteins that may show infection with certain viruses or bacteria.
CT scans of the chest may be helpful, as well as MRI of the brain, or just plain X-rays of the lower back.
Some retina specialists, including myself, receive significant experience in managing patients with uveitis, as we train with mentors highly qualified in this field. Based on your history and symptoms, we can order the minimally necessary number of tests that you may need.
Treatment of Uveitis
Just like with its diagnosis, the treatment of uveits can be very simple, to more involved. Everything from just eye drops, to very strong medications, may be indicated.
In most cases. steroid eye drops are used, and sometimes steroids can be administered around, or even inside, your eye.
Sometimes, oral steroids may be necessary; careful monitoring by a retina specialist is advised in these cases.
In more complex cases, collaborative efforts between different specialists is necessary. There are number of medications, such as methotrexate, and a newer class of drugs, called biologics, which can be of tremendous value.
An experienced retina specialist, joint specialist, and lung doctor, and hematologist, all working together, may best serve your needs.