What Is Uveitis?

Side view cross section of eye.Uveitis is a serious eye problem that can damage your vision. It is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the uvea. The uvea is the fragile tissue just inside your eye’s white outer layer (the sclera). If you have uveitis, you must see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) right away. You must get treatment to keep your eyesight. The uvea is made up of three parts. An inflammation of any one of these is called uveitis:

  • The iris is the colored part of the eye and controls movement of the pupil.

  • The ciliary body is a muscle attached to the lens of the eye.

  • The choroid lies just behind the sclera and contains blood vessels to nourish the eye.

What causes uveitis?

Uveitis has many possible causes, including:

  • An eye injury

  • Infection

  • Exposure to toxins

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease

In many cases, the cause can’t be found.

How is your eye affected?

Uveitis most often inflames the colored part of your eye (iris). This inflammation is called iritis. The iris opens and closes the pupil, the hole through which light enters your eye. Because of this, uveitis can cause pain and sensitivity to light. Often, the eye becomes red. Your vision may get blurry. You may see spots floating in your eye. Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. If it is not treated, it can get worse. It can lead to other eye diseases that affect your vision, such as glaucoma or cataracts. It can even cause permanent vision loss.

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