Uveitis (u-ve-I-tis) is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. The uvea consists of the iris, choroid and ciliary body. The choroid is sandwiched between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera), and it provides blood flow to the deep layers of the retina. The most common type of uveitis is an inflammation of the iris called iritis (anterior uveitis).

Infections, injury and autoimmune disorders may be associated with the development of uveitis, though the exact cause is often unknown.

Uveitis can be serious, leading to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the complications of uveitis.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

The signs, symptoms and characteristics of uveitis include:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)
  • Decreased vision
  • Whitish area (hypopyon) inside the eye in front of the lower part of the colored area of the eye (iris)

The site of uveitis varies and is described by where in the eye it occurs.

  • Anterior uveitis affects the front of your eye (also called iritis).
  • Posterior uveitis affects the back of your eye (also called choroiditis).
  • Intermediary uveitis affects the ciliary body (also called cyclitis).
  • Panuveitis occurs when all layers of the uvea are inflamed.

In any of these conditions, the jelly-like material in the center of your eye (vitreous) can also become inflamed and infiltrated with inflammatory cells.

Symptoms may occur suddenly and get worse quickly, though in some cases, symptoms develop gradually. Symptoms may be noticeable in one or both eyes.

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor if you think you may have symptoms of uveitis. Your doctor may refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). If you're having significant eye pain and new vision problems, seek prompt medical attention.

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