Anterior Uveitis: What You Need to Know
Anterior uveitis is a condition in which the middle layer of the eye becomes inflamed. This includes the iris or surrounding tissue (ciliary body), and sometimes involves both. Anterior uveitis can come on quickly and be short-lived, or an individual can experience the condition for a long time. The most severe cases of anterior uveitis reoccur several times.
What Is Anterior Uveitis?
Anterior uveitis is a common irritation of the colored part of the eye (iris). This condition causes the blood vessels within the iris to leak white blood cells and protein into the front chamber of the eye. It is the most common form of uveitis (inflammation of the uvea—the middle layer of the eye), found mostly in young and middle-aged individuals.
What Are the Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors of Anterior Uveitis?
Symptoms of anterior uveitis include redness, soreness and inflammation of the eye. Additionally, you may experience blurred vision, sensitivity to light and a contracted pupil. These symptoms mirror the symptoms of other diseases, therefore a thorough examination of the eye is required to determine if the condition is anterior uveitis and if so, how critical the condition has become.
Anterior uveitis can be caused by several different diseases. It can also be caused by blunt trauma to the eye, infections such as bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases or rheumatoid arthritis. Often, no underlying cause can be determined.
What to Expect from Diagnosis and Screening for Anterior Uveitis
Diagnosis of anterior uveitis is important as left untreated, anterior uveitis can cause permanent damage to the eyes and irreversible vision loss. Because there can be so many different causes of anterior uveitis, in order to properly screen for and diagnose the condition, your eye care professional will take a detailed medical history, do a comprehensive eye exam and any additional examinations deemed necessary.
What Are the Medications and Treatments for Anterior Uveitis?
Since the causes of anterior uveitis are wide-ranging and is often unknown, there is no known cure for anterior uveitis. The intent of treatment is to reduce inflammation and to address symptoms and complications rather than the underlying cause.
Your eye care professional may prescribe steroids to reduce the inflammation. You may also receive drops that dilate the pupil and relax the muscles within the eye. Both courses of treatment work to decrease scar tissue and lessen any pain.
If found early, your eye care professional can design an aggressive treatment for you to follow that can work to resolve your symptoms in order to make sure no irreversible damage has occurred. In individuals for whom the cause of anterior uveitis is never detected, lifelong treatment may be necessary.
How Tucker & Associates Can Help
If you are suffering from eye pain, severe light sensitivity, and/or are experiencing any type of change in your vision, it is important that you get a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible. The eye care professionals at Tucker & Associates will help with a diagnosis as well as the right treatment plan for your best eye health.