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Eye diseases

Uveitis

UVEITIS
Often related to problems with the immune system.
It mostly affects young patients aged between 20 and 40.
It can cause permanent vision loss.

What is uveitis?

Uveitis is an eye disorder characterised by the inflammation of the uvea, a vascular layer located below the sclerotica (the soft part of the eye) which consists of three structures:

  • Iris: pigmented area that gives your eyes their colour.
  • Ciliary body: just below the iris, it reaches the retina and is responsible for generating the fluid that maintains the correct pressure in the eye.
  • Choroid: also known as the posterior uvea, it is located below the retina. This layer is formed by blood vessels and connective tissue, and is basically responsible for feeding the intraocular tissues.

Uveitis can affect some of these parts or all of them (panuveitis), either acutely or chronically. This disease is also often recurring and reappears intermittently, with periods in which there are no symptoms.

The symptoms you might notice vary depending on your type of uveitis. If the inflammation is located in the iris and the ciliary body, you will normally notice that your eye is red, painful, and particularly sensitive to light, as well as blurred vision in some cases. If the uveitis is in the choroid, you won’t have a painful or red eye, but you might see floaters and lose vision (normally temporarily, although the risk of permanent vision damage increases if the right treatment is provided early on).

veitis is particularly frequent in ages of 20-40, and is the third cause of blindness in the working-age population in developed countries.

It is a multi-factor disease that may arise in an isolated manner in the eye or be related to disorders that affect the rest of the body as well as the eye. The most common causes of uveitis are:

  • Infections: for example toxoplasmosis (the most common cause of infection), tuberculosis, syphilis, herpes, etc.
  • Autoimmune problems: such as sarcoidodis, lupus or certain rheumatic disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.), among others.
  • Abnormal tissue formations that might be benign or cancerous.

At Miranza we perform a detailed, individual study of the causes of uveitis, which is extremely complex. In fact, in a large number of cases (around 30%) the specific source of the inflammation is unknown.

This disease must be treated as early as possible to avoid not only associated discomfort and pain but also to prevent permanent vision damage.

The basic goal of the therapies for uveitis is to decrease inflammation through corticosteroids in eye drops. We can also administer other medication, either as eye drops or orally to treat the underlying disorders. The most commonplace are: non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, antibiotics in the case of infection, antineoplastics or immune modulators.

If you have uveitis, ophthalmological control is essential to tracking your evolution, being aware of new outbreaks and handling any complications associated to this inflammation, such as cataracts, retinal detachment or macular oedema.