Uveitis: what is it and how is it treated

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. It is composed of the iris, ciliary body and choroids, pigmented structures containing many blood vessels.

How are uveitis classified?

There are several types of uveitis. Their classification depends on the part of the eye that is affected:

  • Anterior uveitis: affects the iris and/or the ciliary body.
  • Intermediate uveitis: originates in the retina and peripheral vitreous, affecting the pars plana.
  • Posterior uveitis: affects the choroids.
  • Panuveitis: affects all parts of the uvea.

What can cause uveitis?

They can be due to multiple causes such as infections (bacterial, viral, parasitic, etc.) associated with rheumatologic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc.) or associated with intraocular tumors, etc. In most cases we do not know the exact cause.

What are the symptoms of uveitis?

Depending on the part of the eye affected, there will be different symptoms. In general, they may cause red eyes and eye pain; later they usually produce floaters and decreased visual acuity.

How is uveitis treated?

Treatment of uveitis should preferably be directed at the cause of the uveitis. Inflammation is treated with corticosteroids and mydriatics to mitigate pain and prevent synechiae (adhesions between the iris and the lens in cases of iritis). If the cause is infectious, the appropriate antimicrobial should be sought and in the case of autoimmune etiology with immunosuppressants.