Uveitis is a general term describing a group of inflammatory diseases that produces swelling and destroys eye tissues. These diseases can slightly reduce vision or lead to severe vision loss.
The term “uveitis” is used because the diseases often affect a part of the eye called the uvea. Nevertheless, uveitis is not limited to the uvea. These diseases also affect the lens, retina, optic nerve, and vitreous, producing reduced vision or blindness.
Uveitis may be caused by problems or diseases occurring in the eye or it can be part of an inflammatory disease affecting other parts of the body. It can happen at all ages and primarily affects people between 20-60 years old.
Uveitis can last for a short (acute) or a long (chronic) time. The severest forms of uveitis reoccur many times.
Uveitis can be categorized as:
• Anterior uveitis
• Intermediate uveitis
• Posterior uveitis
• Panuveitis uveitis
Signs, symptoms and characteristics include:
• Eye redness
• Eye pain
• Light sensitivity
• Blurred vision
• Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)
• Decreased vision
Uveitis is caused by inflammatory responses inside the eye.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage, germs, or toxins. It produces swelling, redness, heat, and destroys tissues as certain white blood cells rush to the affected part of the body to contain or eliminate the insult.
Uveitis may be caused by:
• An attack from the body’s own immune system (autoimmunity)
• Infections or tumors occurring within the eye or in other parts of the body
• Bruises to the eye
• Toxins that may penetrate the eye
• The disease will cause symptoms, such as decreased vision, pain, light sensitivity, and increased floaters. In many cases the cause is unknown.