What Is Uveitis?

Uveitis is an inflammation that occurs in the uvea or middle layer of the eye. This condition is marked with one or both eyes look very red because of uvea many blood vessels. Generally, uveitis is experienced by adults aged 20-50 years, but sometimes also experienced by children.

Types of Uveitis
The Uvea is the inner middle layer of the eye consisting of the iris, the lining of the eyebath (coroid), and the connective tissue between the iris and the choroid (the ciliary body). Uvea is located between the white part of the eye (sclera) and the back of the eye that catches the light (retina).

Based on the location of the inflammation, uveitis is divided into several types, namely:
  • Uveitis in the front of the uvea (iritis or anterior uveitis). Inflammation occurs in the iris.
  • Uveitis in the middle of the uvea (uveitis intermedia or cyclitis). Inflammation occurs between the iris and the choroid.
  • Uveitis in the back of the uvea (choroiditis or posterior uveitis). Inflammation occurs in the choroid.
  • Uveitis throughout uvea (panuveitis). Occurs when the entire layer of uvea is inflamed.
Uveitis is also divided based on the length of the patient experiencing uveitis, namely:
  • Acute Uveitis, the type of uveitis that develops in a period of less than 3 months.
  • Chronic Uveitis, when inflammation persists for more than 3 months.
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Uveitis Causes
Uveitis is often unknown and sometimes experienced by healthy people. However, most uveitis is associated with an autoimmune disorder, a condition when the immune system attacks the body itself. Some autoimmune conditions associated with uveitis, among others:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis , ie inflammation of the joints.
  • Psoriasis, which is skin inflammation.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis , the inflammation of the joints in the spine.
  • Sarcoidosis , which is inflammation that appears in various parts of the body, such as the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, and skin.
  • Kawasaki disease, which is inflammation of blood vessel wall.
  • Ulcerative colitis, which is inflammation of the large intestine.
  • Crohna's Disease , the inflammation that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.
In addition, uveitis can also be caused by other things, such as:
  • Injury or eye surgery.
  • Eye cancer .
  • Infection that includes:
    • Herpes .
    • Tuberculosis.
    • Toxoplasmosis .
    • Syphilis.
    • HIV / AIDS.
    • Histoplasmosis .
  • Exposure to toxins in the eye.

Uveitis Symptoms
Uveitis symptoms may appear suddenly or develop gradually over a period of several days. Uveitis symptoms include:

  • Pain around the eyes, especially when the eye is focused on one thing or thing.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Red eye.
  • The eye becomes sensitive to light.
  • There is a small dot that blocks vision.
  • Space narrowing view, which is the ability to see objects that are located on the side.

Uveitis Diagnosis
As a first step in diagnosis, your doctor will check your medical history and ask for symptoms that the patient feels.

Then, the doctor will perform a physical examination, especially on the patient's eyes. After that, the doctor will perform further examination to support the diagnosis. Follow-up checks include:
  • Blood test.
  • Analysis of eye fluids.
  • Eye angiography, ie imaging to evaluate eye blood flow.
  • Examination of fundraising photographic imaging to measure the thickness of the retina and to know whether there is fluid in the retina.

Uveitis Treatment
The focus of uveitis treatment is to reduce inflammation of the eyes. There are several treatment options that may be performed by doctors, among others:
  • Drugs , such as:
    • Medications to reduce inflammation. One of the usual forms of anti-inflammatory drugs is corticosteroids . This drug works by inhibiting the immune system to release chemicals that may cause inflammation. Corticosteroids are available in various forms, eye drops, injections, and tablets or capsules.
    • Medication to fight bacteria or viruses. If uveitis is caused by infection, then the doctor will give antibiotic or antiviral drugs to control the infection.
    • Drugs that affect the immune system or destroy cells. If uveitis occurs in both eyes, then the patient may require immunosuppressive or cytotoxic drugs. This type of drug is needed if treatment with corticosteroids fails or uveitis gets worse and the patient is at risk of blindness.
  • Operation. The surgical procedure may be performed if the symptoms are severe enough or the drug method is ineffective. The example is:
    • Vitrectomy, the surgical operation of the eye to take vitreous liquid in the eye.
    • The operation of planting a tool in the eye. For difficult-to-treat posterior uveitis patients, a device will be implanted in the eye to channel the corticosteroid drug slowly into the eye. This treatment generally lasts for 2-3 years.
The duration of uveitis treatment usually depends on the type of uveitis and the severity of the symptoms. Posterior uveitis requires a longer healing process than anterior uveitis.

The likelihood of uveitis returns is quite large. Immediately consult a doctor if symptoms reappear after going through treatment.

Uveitis Complications
If not immediately treated promptly, uveitis can cause complications such as:
  • Cataracts, ie changes that occur in the lens of the eye and cause blurred vision.
  • Glaucoma, the nerve damage that connects the eye to the brain. If not treated promptly, glaucoma can cause blindness.
  • Retinal detachment, which is the condition when the innermost layer of the retina contains the nerve, escaping from the outer layer of the retina containing the blood vessels.
  • Cystoid macular edema, the swelling of the retina.
  • Posterior syncia, the inflammation that causes the iris to be attached to the lens of the eye.
The risk of complications is higher if:
  • Aged 60 years and over.
  • Suffer from uveitis intermedia or posterior uveitis.
  • Have chronic uveitis.

Uveitis Prevention
Uveitis prevention measures are difficult for healthy people because most uveitis is not known why. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of permanent vision loss.

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