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Dr. Ashley Roth's article on Iritis

Dr. Ashley Roth is on the editorial board for EyeHealthWeb.com. Read her article on Iritis below:

Original Link: http://www.eyehealthweb.com/iritis/

Iritis — Symptoms and Treatment

Authored by
Michael Garin O.D.

Reviewed by
Dr. Ashley Roth

The iris is the colored part of the eye, and iritis is an inflammation of the iris. Iritis can also be referred to as anterior uveitis.

The iris contains muscles that relax and contract the pupil (dilate and constrict the pupil) and it serves as a divider between the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye. Iritis can affect people of all ages. The cause may be unknown, or it may be associated with certain systemic inflammatory disorders or autoimmune disorders.

Iritis can be acute or chronic. Acute iritis presents suddenly, typically as a painful red eye with light sensitivity. Chronic iritis can last months or years, and may not respond to treatment as well as acute iritis. People with chronic iritis are often at higher risk for developing visual impairments.

Iritis

What Symptoms of Iritis Should I Know About?

Symptoms of iritis can appear suddenly or come on gradually, and may vary from person to person. Sudden symptoms of this condition can include:

Severe eye pain
Eye redness
Eye soreness
Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
Excessive tearing
Blurred vision
Eye may appear swollen
Uneven pupil sizes between the two eyes
What Causes Iritis in People Like Me?

In most cases, the cause is unknown, although it can sometimes be associated with a secondary inflammatory disease that affects other parts of the body.

Common inflammatory disease that can cause iritis include Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sarcoidosis, and collagen vascular disease. Talk with your eye-care professional about possible causes of your iritis and possible medical conditions that may lead to iritis.

Diagnosing Iritis

During a routine eye examination, your eye doctor will use a slit lamp (a special microscope designed for eye exams) that allows him or her to look inside the eye and examine the anterior chamber, in order to look for specific signs of inflammation.

Your examination may also involve various diagnostic techniques such as checking the pressure inside your eyes (glaucoma test), pupillary response, and vision testing. Dilation is routinely required due to concomitant risk of inflammation inside the eye. In many cases additional medical tests such as blood work will be needed to help diagnose the secondary condition that may be causing the iritis.

What Can I Do to Treat My Iritis?

Your doctor’s goals will be to reduce the inflammation, pain, and redness, prevent complications, and treat any other health problems that may be evident. In most cases, prescription drug therapy is used to treat this condition.

With early detection, treatment can preserve vision. Eye drops will be prescribed, and treatment length varies on severity and cause of the iritis. Oral cortisone drugs or cortisone eye drops may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. In most cases, diet and normal activities are not affected, although most people will need to wear dark sunglasses due to photophobia until treatment is complete.

Risk Factors for Iritis

Here is a look at some of the factors that may increase your risk of developing iritis:

Ankylosing spondylitis
Inflammatory bowel disease
Arthritis
Herpes infections
Lyme disease
Eye injuries
Sarcoidosis
Candida infection
Syphilis
Histoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis
Tuberculosis
Reiter’s syndrome
Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures known for this condition. Talk with your eye care professional about what risk factors you may have.