is an inflammation of the uvea, located in the
middle layers or the central part of the eye, between
the white, front portion of the eyeball called
the sclera, and the retina at the back of the eye.
The uvea provides most of the blood to the retina.
It is a rare disease that affects mainly young
people of both sex and causes vision loss in many
Classification of uveitis
A big problem with practitioners is that there
are several types of uveitis, depending on the
part of the uvea affected. The uvea has three
parts – iris, ciliary body and the choroids.
The nature of uveitis depends on the part or
combination of parts affected. Therefore, the
condition and treatment is different. The nature
of uveitis and its treatment also depends on
its intensity or clinical course, and whether
one or both eyes are affected.
Uveitis is therefore classified in three ways.
The International Uveitis Study Group classification
is widely used. It is based on the site of the
disease as follows:
- Anterior uveitis when the iris or the
ciliary muscles are involved
- Posterior uveitis
when the retina and the choroid is involved
uveitis when the vitreous or the peripheral
retina is involved
- Panu uveitis when two or
more of these segments are involved. In some
cases, the whole uveal
On the basis of clinical course it is classified
- Acute uveitis if it lasts less than
- Chronic if it lasts more than 3 months
uveitis when it recurs after complete cure
On the basis of laterality it is classified
- Unilateral uveitis when only one eye
is affected but recurrences may occur in the
- Bilateral uveitis when both eyes are
These three types of classification and the
symptoms of the disease are essential for correct
diagnosis and treatment.
The most common form is the anterior acute uveitis
or AAU. This form of uveitis is painful, involves
the front part of the eye and is usually limited
to the iris. Posterior uveitis is next most common
Depending on which part or combination of parts
is affected, a combination of the following symptoms
will be seen. The inflammation may be localized
or diffused and there may be loss of peripheral
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
These symptoms may appear without any pain.
In addition, appearance of symptoms does not
necessarily mean you have uveitis. For that,
a thorough eye examination will be needed.
Uveitis may be caused by many factors. Some
of the common ones are:
- An autoimmune response from the body
associated with rheumatism and spondilysis
like syphilis or tubeculosis
- Eye injury
- Some cancers, like lymphoma, that
masquerade as uveitis
- Inflammatory conditions
Diagnosis of uveitis can be quite difficult
because of so many types of this disease. Your
eye specialist will carry out a complete eye
examination and question you in detail about
your signs and symptoms and medical history.
If he suspects an underlying disease as the
cause, then you may be referred to another specialist.
For effective treatment, correct diagnosis is
essential but in some cases of uveitis, the cause
may not be found.
Uveitis should be treated promptly since left
untreated many complications may develop. These
include glaucoma, optic nerve damage, cataract,
retinal detachment and vision loss.
Treatment depends largely on the type of uveitis
diagnosed. Often, your doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory
medications, such as corticosteroids given as
eye drops, tablets or by injection into the eye.
If infection is the cause, antibiotics, antiviral
medications or some other medicine may be given
with or without corticosteroids to bring the
infection under control. If uveitis is caused
by an underlying condition, treatment will focus
on treating that condition.
With proper treatment, anterior uveitis can
resolve in a matter of days to weeks. Posterior
uveitis, on the other hand, may last several
months or years and could permanently alter your
If your uveitis does not respond well to corticosteroids
or becomes severe enough to threaten your vision,
you may be given an immunosuppressive or cytotoxic
agent. Vitrectomy, which is a surgery to remove
the vitreous from your eyes, may be necessary
for diagnosis and treatment of uveitis.
Uveitis can reappear after successful treatment.
Consult your doctor immediately for treatment,
because recurrent uveitis poses a high risk of
macular edema and permanent loss of vision.