UVEA & Ocular Inflammation

The eye is an important sense organ. It is made up of 3 coats. The outer coat is the cornea and sclera. The middle coat is the uveal tract and the inner coat is the retina. The uveal tract consists of 3 parts. The iris is the visible part of the uvea and gives color to the eye (blue, black, brown). The ciliary body is the middle layer of the uvea which manufactures the fluid inside the eye. The choroid is the posterior layer of the uvea which is rich in blood vessels.

What is Uveitis?

Inflammation or swelling in any of the part of the uveal tract is called uveitis. Depending on the location of inflammation, it is called anterior uveitis (iris and ciliary body is involved), intermediate uveitis (ciliary body and the vitreous is involved), posterior uveitis (choroids and retina involved), panuveitisd (all layers of the uveal tract are involved).

What causes Uveitis?

Causes of Uveitis are many.

  • It may result from an infection (bacteria like tuberculosis, viruses like herpes, parasites like toxoplasmosis)
  • It may also be related to an autoimmune disease (with or without involvement of other parts of the body). This essentially is when our immune system recognizes a part of our own body as foreign and elicits a reaction in the form of uveitis. The uveitis may be the presenting manifestation of an underlying systemic disease.
  • It can occur as a result of injury to the eye.
  • It can occur due to causes within the eye like cataract and retinal detachment
  • Sometimes the cause is not known at the first instance. As we follow-up the patient over a period of time, we may be able to pick up new clues or signs suggestive of a systemic disease. In such cases, they are labeled as idiopathic (cause not known) at the initial visit.

What are the Symptoms of Uveitis?

Depending on the structure involved, the symptoms can vary from

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Inability to see light (photophobia)
  • Black spots moving in front of the eye
  • Blurring or reduction in vision

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