What is uveitis and what are its symptoms

Uveitis is a form of ocular inflammation. It affects the middle layer of tissue in the ocular wall called the uvea. This ocular pathology can occur in one eye or both.

The warning signs of uveitis usually appear suddenly and get worse quickly. It is usually given to people from 20 to 50 years old, but it can also occur in children.

The uveitis can be serious and cause permanent loss of vision. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the complications of uveitis.

On the other hand, people with modifications in certain genes may be more likely to have uveitis. In addition, a recent study discovered a significant relationship between uveitis and smoking.

Types of uveitis

The uvea is the layer of intermediate tissue of the wall of the eye. It's formed by:

  • Iris.
  • Ciliary body.
  • Choroid: it is located between the retina-located in the innermost layer of the eye wall-and the sclera-the outermost white part of the eye wall.

The uvea provides blood flow to the deep layers of the retina. The type of uveitis you have will depend on the parts of the eye that are inflamed:

  • Iritis: It affects the front part of the eye and is the most frequent type.
  • Cyclitis: affects the ciliary body.
  • Choroiditis and retinitis: affect the back of the eye.
  • Diffuse uveitis: occurs when all the layers of the uvea are inflamed.

In any of these conditions, the gelatinous material located in the center of the eye (vitreous humor) may become inflamed and be invaded by inflammatory cells.

In addition, there is another classification of uveitis according to the area of ​​the uvea that is affected. In severe cases, all layers are involved.


The inflammation of the uvea occurs near the front of the eye. It starts suddenly and the symptoms can last up to 8 weeks. Some variants of anterior uveitis are constant, while others disappear and return.


The swelling of the uvea takes place near the central part of the eye. Therefore, the symptoms can last from a few weeks to many years. This variant can be cyclical, sometimes it improves and sometimes it gets worse.


The inflammation of the uvea is near the back of the eye. The symptoms can manifest gradually and can last for many years.

Symptoms and complications

Among the signs, symptoms and characteristics of uveitis Some are included, for example:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Eye pain.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Dark spots that float in the field of vision (flying flies).
  • Decreased vision.

The symptoms may appear suddenly or get worse quickly although, in some cases, they are presented gradually.

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In addition to these symptoms, if not treated, Uveitis can cause certain complications, for example:

  • Glaucoma.
  • Cataract injury.
  • Injury to the optic nerve.
  • Retinal detachment.
  • Permanent loss of vision.

Causes of uveitis

In about half of all cases, the specific cause of uveitis is unclear. In the case where a cause can be determined, it can be one of the following:

  • Autoimmune disorder, such as sarcoidosis or ankylosing spondyloarthritis.
  • Injury or eye surgery.
  • Inflammatory disorder, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • An infection, such as cat scratch disease, herpes zoster, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, or West Nile virus.
  • Cancer that affects the eyes, such as lymphoma.

Diagnosis and treatment of uveitis

As uveitis is often related to other diseases or conditions, it may be necessary to do some diagnostic tests. These may include a physical examination, blood or skin tests, eye fluid analysis and image analysis.

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As for the treatment, it should be treated immediately to avoid long-term problems. Ophthalmologists often treat uveitis with drugs in the form of drops for eyes that reduce inflammation.

It is also possible that they use eye drops that dilate the pupil, in order to reduce pain and swelling.