Uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which is called the uvea (or uveal tract).

  • The uvea is made up of the iris (coloured part of the eye), the ciliary body (ring of muscle behind the iris) and the choroid (layer of tissue that supports the retina).

    Inflammation of the uvea usually causes a red eye, sometimes with cloudy vision, and it may be painful (see Symptoms, below, for more information).

    Uveitis may be caused by an injury, infection or underlying disease (see Causes). If it is not treated, the eyesight can be seriously damaged.

    Who is affected?

    Uveitis can affect anyone. It particularly affects people of working age but can also occur in children.

    Different types of uveitis

    The type of uveitis depends on which part of the eye is affected:
    the most common type of uveitis, accounting for 75% of cases.
    adults.

    • Anterior uveitis. This is inflammation of the iris (iritis) or inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body (iridocyclitis). It is
    • Intermediate uveitis. This affects the area behind the ciliary body and the retina. It tends to occur in childen, teenagers and young
    • Posterior uveitis. This affects the area at the back of the eye, the choroid and the retina.

    Acute uveitis lasts for a few weeks and can recur, whereas chronic uveitis lasts for more than three months, with symptoms that can vary from day to day.

    If you have uveitis, it may have implications on your fitness to drive. See Useful links, above, to find out how to inform the DVLA about medical conditions.

  • If you have uveitis, you will have some or all of the following symptoms.

    Anterior uveitis (iritis)

    Anterior uveitis affects the front of the eye (usually the iris) and is the most common type. Only one eye is usually affected. Symptoms include:

    • an aching, painful, red eye. The pain can range from mild aching to intense discomfort,
    • blurred or cloudy vision,
    • a small pupil,
    • an iris (the coloured part of the eye) that may have a slightly different colour,
    • sensitivity to light (photophobia),
    • floaters (dots that move across the field of vision), and
    • headaches.

    These symptoms may develop gradually over hours or days. They may be acute (lasting a few weeks) or chronic (lasting for more than three months).

    Intermediate uveitis

    Intermediate uveitis is the second most common type, affecting the area just behind the ciliary body and part of the retina. Both eyes tend to be affected and it is usually painless.

    Symptoms can include:

    • mild redness (although there is usually no redness),
    • floaters (dots that move across the field of vision), and
    • blurred vision due to cells from the blood vessels leaking into the gel of the eye.

    There is usually no redness or only mild redness associated with intermediate uveitis.

    Posterior uveitis

    Posterior uveitis affects the back of the eye (the choroid) where your blood vessels supply the retina. One or both eyes may be affected and it is usually painless.

    Posterior uveitis usually causes decreased vision and floaters, and sometimes retinal detachment (see Useful links) These symptoms are slower to develop and often last longer than those of anterior uveitis.

    Posterior uveitis can be more damaging to the eye than other types of uveitis. It sometimes causes visual loss.

  • The cause of uveitis is often unknown, but it may result from:

    • an injury to the eye (traumatic iritis), for example, a squash ball hitting the eye,
    • recent or previous eye surgery,
    • certain types of infection, or
    • a health condition (see below).

    Health conditions

    Uveitis may be associated with the following conditions:

    • an inflammatory or autoimmune condition (when the body attacks its own organs), such as arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the lower back), Reiter’s syndrome, Behçet’s disease, sarcoidosis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease,
    • a bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infection such as toxoplasmosis, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis (TB), Lyme disease, syphilis or shingles, and
    • an immune-deficiency disease (when the body’s immune system is impaired), such as HIV/AIDS, because this can make you prone to infection.
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Uveitis consultants
A picture of Mr Carlos Pavesio

Mr Carlos Pavesio


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Peter Addison

Mr Peter Addison


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Praveen Patel

Mr Praveen Patel


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Graham Thompson

Mr Graham Thompson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Declan Flanagan

Mr Declan Flanagan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Professor Adnan Tufail

Professor Adnan Tufail


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Philip Hykin

Mr Philip Hykin


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Mark Westcott

Mr Mark Westcott


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Pearse Keane

Mr Pearse Keane


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Narciss Okhravi

Miss Narciss Okhravi


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Bishwanath Pal

Mr Bishwanath Pal


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Dhanes Thomas

Miss Dhanes Thomas


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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