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Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(Uveitis; Iritis; Iridocyclitis)

Definition

Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer (uvea) of the eye. Care is needed right away to prevent vision loss.

Normal Anatomy of the Eye
AR00032 labeled eye
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Causes

In some people, the cause is not known. In others, it may be caused by trauma linked to other health problems, such as:

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who are 20 to 40 years of age. People who have a specific faulty gene are also at higher risk.

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Red, sore, and watering eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Changes in pupil shape
Symptoms of Uveitis—Red, Sore, Watering Eyes
Eye Inflammation
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Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. An eye exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Any underlying causes will be treated. The overall goal of treatment is to ease symptoms until the problem goes away. Options are:

Medications

Medicine may be given to:

  • Eye drops to widen the pupils in order to ease pain
  • Corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease inflammation
  • Lower pressure in the eye

Rarely, people who are not helped by these methods may need surgery.

Prevention

There are no known methods to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES

Iritis Organization  http://www.iritis.org 

National Eye Institute  http://www.nei.nih.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Association of Optometrists  https://opto.ca 

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

References

Anterior uveitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anterior-uveitis. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Facts about uveitis. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/uveitis. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Iritis overview. Iritis Organization website. Available at: http://www.iritis.org. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 07/2021
  • Update Date: 08/17/2021