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World class Uveitis care - right on your doorstep

What is Uveitis

The uvea is the middle layer of the eye. It is comprised of three elements - the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. When any part of the uvea becomes inflamed, which may be due to an injury, infection or underlying disease, it is called Uveitis. If left untreated, the eyesight can be seriously damaged.

There are many different types of Uveitis, depending on which part of the uvea is affected. The three main categories of Uveitis are:

  • Anterior Uveitis - Inflammation of the iris or inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body. This is the most common type of uveitis, accounting for 75% of cases.
  • Intermediate Uveitis - Affecting the area behind the ciliary body and the retina. It tends to occur in childen, teenagers and young adults.
  • Posterior Uveitis - Affecting the area at the back of the eye, the choroid and the retina.

The length of time an individual may suffer from this condition is hard to tell. Acute Uveitis lasts for a few weeks and may reoccur, whereas chronic Uveitis lasts for more than three months, with symptoms that can vary from day to day.

Who is at risk

Uveitis can affect anyone, including children, but particularly affects people of working age. Those who have or who are currently experiencing the following may be at a higher risk.

  • Injury to the eye, for example a tennis ball striking the eye
  • Certain types of bacterial, viral or fungal infections
  • Certain auto-immune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis or immune-deficiency diseases

Uveitis is not hereditary and cannot be passed from generation to generation

How Uveitis affects our vision

Inflammation of the uvea usually causes a red or ‘bloodshot’ eye, which is often experienced in conjunction with blurry or cloudy vision, and it may be painful. Depending on the type of Uveitis, one or both eyes may be affected. Sufferers may also experience increased sensitivity to light, dots moving across their field of vision (floaters) and headaches.

Posterior Uveitis is slower at developing and is longer lasting. It can cause more damage to the eye than other types of Uveitis, and in some cases may cause loss of vision.

How Uveitis is treated

Your eye surgeon will first conduct a detailed examination of your eye using a microscope designed for this purpose. As the light beam passes through the eye, the fluid within can be examined. If this fluid is hazy instead of clear, the cause may be due to Uveitis.

A further test that may be carried out involves a light shone into both the affected and unaffected eyes causing both pupils to constrict. If one eye is affected by Uveitis, there will be a slight pain in the eye as the pupil constricts.

In addition, there will normally be an examination of the inside of the eye to see if other parts of the eye are affected. Other investigations may include blood tests and x-rays which may be undertaken to establish the cause of the Uveitis.

Depending on the cause and nature of your condition, your consultant may initially prescribe a course of eye drops to control the inflammation and treat any underlying condition.

Steroid tablets or a steroid injection into the eye may be recommended in severe cases, when eye drops have no effect. The injection will be carried out under local anaesthetic.

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