Uveitis

Diagnosis 

When you visit an eye specialist (ophthalmologist), they will likely perform a comprehensive eye examination and gather a detailed health history. The eye examination typically includes the following:  

  • Evaluation of your pupils’ reaction to light and your vision (if you typically wear glasses).  
  • Tonometry. Intraocular pressure, or intraocular pressure, is measured during a tonometry examination. For this examination, numbing eyedrops could be utilized.  
  • A slitlamp analysis. A slit lamp is a type of microscope that produces a strong line of light that enlarges and illuminates the front of your eye. To detect minute inflammatory cells in the front of the eye, this examination is required.  
  • Ophthalmoscopy. This examination, also called a funduscopy, entails using eye drops to dilate the pupil and a strong light to inspect the back of the eye.  

Additionally, your doctor might advise:  

  • Blood examination. 
  • Assessment of the eye aqueous or vitreous fluid   
  • Color photography. To check the retina inside the eyes.   
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging.This test uses a mapping technique to identify edema in the retina and choroid.  
  • Fluorescein angiography or indocyanine green angiography.To administer a dye for these tests, an Intravenous (IV) catheter must be inserted into a vein in your arm. This dye will enter the blood vessels in the eyes, enabling images of enlarged blood vessels to be captured.  
  • Imaging tests. Radiology, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  

If the ophthalmologist suspects an underlying condition as the culprit for your uveitis, you might need a referral to another doctor for a comprehensive medical examination and laboratory tests.  

Finding a specific cause for uveitis can be challenging. However, even if a specific cause isn’t identified, successful treatment is still possible. In most cases, pinpointing the cause doesn’t result in a cure. Treatment is still necessary to manage the inflammation.  

Treatment 

If uveitis is linked to an underlying condition, treatment often focuses on addressing that specific cause. Generally, the treatment approach for uveitis is consistent, except when the cause is infectious. The primary goal is to reduce inflammation in the eye and other affected body parts. Depending on the severity and underlying causes, treatment may be necessary for several months or even years, with various options available to manage the condition.  

Medications 

  • Drugs that reduce inflammation.Initially, your doctor might prescribe eye drops containing an antiinflammatory medication, like a corticosteroid. However, eye drops may not be sufficient for treating inflammation beyond the front of the eye. In such cases, a corticosteroid injection in or around the eye, or corticosteroid tablets taken orally, may be required.  
  • Medication for spasm management. In order to manage iris and ciliary body spasms and alleviate eye pain, eye drops that dilate the pupil may be administered.  
  • Antiviral or antibacterial drugs. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or other treatments, with or without corticosteroids, to treat the infection if it is the cause of your uveitis.  
  • Substances that damage cells or interfere with the immunological system. If your uveitis affects both eyes, does not improve with corticosteroids, or gets bad enough to impair your vision, you could require immunosuppressive medication.  

Some of these medications can cause serious eyerelated side effects, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Oral medication or injections may also have side effects in other parts of the body beyond the eyes. Regular followup examinations and blood tests may be necessary, so you may need to visit your doctor frequently.  

Surgery and other procedures 

  • Vitrectomy.It is uncommon to identify or treat the problem with surgery that involves partial vitreous removal from the eye.  
  • A medicationreleasing implant.An implanted device may be a viable treatment option for those with persistent posterior uveitis that is difficult to manage. Depending on the implant being utilized, this device distributes corticosteroid into the eye gradually over several months or years.  

This treatment typically causes cataracts to develop in those who have not had cataract surgery. Additionally, up to 30% of individuals will need glaucoma or high eye pressure to be monitored or treated. 

The speed of recovery from uveitis can vary widely depending on the type and severity of the condition. Conditions like retinitis or choroiditis, which fall under posterior uveitis or panuveitis and affect deeper layers of the eye, generally take longer to heal compared to anterior uveitis or iritis, which impacts the front part of the eye. Severe inflammation typically requires more time to subside than milder forms. 

There is also a possibility of recurrence with uveitis. Should your symptoms reappear or worsen, it is crucial to contact your doctor promptly to address the flareup and adjust your treatment plan if necessary.