Treatment for Iritis

Healthcare provider examining woman's eyes.

Iritis is the inflammation of the iris. This is the colored part of the eye. Iritis causes pain, sensitivity to light, and other problems. It can lead to severe eyesight loss and even blindness.

Types of treatment        

Treatment depends on what is causing your iritis and how severe it is. Treatment should be done quickly to prevent damage to the eyes. Treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection of your eye

  • Antiviral medicines to treat a viral infection of your eye

  • Steroid medicines to treat inflammation

  • Eye drops to dilate your eye. This may prevent some complications.

  • In rare cases, medicines that suppress the immune system

You may take medicines in the form of eye drops, by mouth, through an IV (intravenous) line, or as a shot (injection) around your eye.

Possible complications of iritis

If iritis is treated right away, it likely won't cause any other problems. But in some cases, it can cause complications. Your risk for these varies depending on your age, your health, and the cause of your iritis. Possible complications include:

  • Glaucoma, from increased pressure inside the eye

  • Iris sticking to other parts of the eye (synechiae)

  • Clouding of the lens (cataract)

  • Inflammation of the fluid in the back part of the eye (vitreous)

  • Inflammation of the retina

  • Swelling of the central part of the retina, which lines the back of the eye (macular edema)

  • Calcium deposits on the cornea (band keratopathy)

  • Optic nerve damage

If severe, problems like these can cause partial or total loss of eyesight. Your eye care provider will try to prevent these problems by treating your iritis right away. You may need to take medicine often to calm the inflammation in your eye.

You may need medicine or surgery to treat some problems. For example, medicine may be given to treat glaucoma. Or you may need surgery to remove a cataract or replace part of your cornea.

If you’re at risk for iritis

Often, there isn't 1 clear factor that can be found as the cause of iritis. But some health problems can raise your risk for it. These include:

  • Injury

  • Infection

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, nephritis, and reactive arthritis

If you have an autoimmune disease, take your medicines as prescribed. This may help to prevent iritis. You may reduce your chance for complications if you see your eye care provider when symptoms start. Make sure to keep any follow-up visits. These are to make sure your iritis responds to treatment.

If you have certain health conditions, you may need regular eye exams to check for early signs of iritis. Keep all your appointments. This may help prevent complications.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Eye pain

  • Eyesight gets worse

  • Symptoms that get worse or don’t get better with treatment

  • New symptoms

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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