Uveitis, also known as iritis, is an eye condition that causes inflammation in the middle layer of the eye wall (the uvea), which includes the choroid, ciliary body, and iris. While it is commonly caused by an infection, injury, trauma, or disease to the eye, uveitis can also develop in an otherwise healthy eye. Dr. Shalesh Kaushal, our board-certified retina surgeon, is dedicated to helping patients with retina problems like uveitis at Comprehensive Retina Consultants in Ocala, FL. Uveitis can cause many symptoms including eye pain and redness, light sensitivity, blurred vision, floating spots (floaters), and decreased vision. Dr. Kaushal focuses on giving his patients a proper diagnosis and treatment of uveitis to prevent increasing problems such as additional vision loss. Patients who have symptoms of uveitis are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaushal at Comprehensive Retina Consultants so he can get them back to healthy vision.
UVEITIS CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
The uvea is the middle layer of tissue in the wall of the eye and consists of three parts: the choroid, the ciliary body, and the iris. The function of the uvea is to absorb light, as well as to provide nutrients that support the other parts of the eye. While the cause of uveitis is unclear in about half of patients, uveitis is linked to eye injuries, previous eye surgery, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disorders (like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), certain infections (like cat-scratch disease, herpes zoster, syphilis, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus), and eye cancer.
Symptoms of uveitis develop suddenly for some, while other patients may notice a more gradual progression. Patients should schedule an appointment at the first sign of symptoms since uveitis may progress quickly and lead to glaucoma, cataracts, optic nerve damage, retinal detachment, and permanent vision problems or loss. The most common symptoms of uveitis are:
- Blurred vision
- Decreased vision
- Eye pain or redness
- Floating dark spots (floaters)
- Light sensitivity
If you have signs or risk factors for uveitis, Dr. Kaushal will start with a thorough eye examination to rule out any other causes. If uveitis is still suspected, Dr. Kaushal will perform other tests, including blood tests, an analysis of eye fluid, medical imaging to measure the thickness of the retinal tissue, and a check for abnormal fluids. The diagnosis process will also help Dr. Kaushal determine the best treatment plan based on your unique factors and condition.
UVEITIS TREATMENT AND PROGNOSIS
After the diagnosis of uveitis, Dr. Kaushal will help each patient understand their treatment options and decide on their plan of action. For nonsurgical treatment, there are several medications available to treat uveitis. Anti-inflammatory eye drops, pills, and injections can be prescribed to address the inflammation. Dr. Kaushal may also prescribe an antibiotic or antiviral medication if the uveitis is caused by an infection. If neither of these medications work, an immunosuppressive or cytotoxic medication may be prescribed. While medication allows patients to avoid eye surgery, these drugs can cause serious, long-term side effects like glaucoma and cataracts. Dr. Kaushal will talk to patients about the benefits and risk factors of uveitis medications before writing a prescription.
Another option to treat uveitis is retina surgery. Dr. Kaushal may perform a vitrectomy to remove the vitreous fluid in the eye and relieve the inflammation. In patients who have posterior uveitis that is more difficult to treat, surgery can be performed to implant a device in the eye that releases a corticosteroid medication into the eye over the course of 2 – 3 years.
Since recovery time will vary based on the patient’s condition and treatment plan, Dr. Kaushal will talk to each patient about what to expect after their chosen treatment. Many patients enjoy a full recovery with no complications; however, some patients may develop a reoccurrence of uveitis. All patients should schedule regular follow-ups with Dr. Kaushal so he can monitor their recovery and provide them with the best care.
As an experienced retina specialist, Dr. Shalesh Kaushal is dedicated to treating conditions like uveitis at his practice in Ocala, FL. With extreme care taken at every stage of your visit from a proper diagnosis to advanced treatments, Dr. Kaushal and his team at Comprehensive Retina Consultants will work hard to make sure your vision is restored to health. If you have been diagnosed with uveitis or have symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaushal to learn more about your condition and treatment options.