The iris is a circular, pigmented membrane that provides the eye its color and the opening in the center is the pupil of the eye.
The iris is made up of muscular fibers that control the amount of light entering the pupil so that you can see clearly. The iris accomplishes this task by making the pupil smaller in bright light and larger in dim light.
I've been going blind my whole life. I was born with choroideremia, a rare, inherited disorder that causes gradual vision loss. My doctors diagnosed it when I was 14, after my pediatrician saw small spots in my eyes. I had known I was having trouble seeing, especially at night, but at that age I didn't care. But then the doctors said, “You'll have a hard time in your 20s, a very hard time in your 30s, and you'll be blind by 60."
They were right. I am 49 now and almost completely blind, except for...
Notify your eye doctor if any of the following signs or symptoms of iritis are present:
Eye pain, including pain associated with bright light
Redness in the eye, especially near the iris
If you cannot reach your eye doctor, then seek medical attention at a hospital's emergency department.
Questions to Ask the Doctor About Iritis
If you've been diagnosed with iritis, these are questions you may want to ask your doctor:
Are there any signs of permanent damage to the eye?
Are there any signs of permanent vision loss?
What should I expect as my eye heals?
What symptoms should I call you about between visits?
Iritis Exams and Tests
The diagnosis of iritis is confirmed by examining the eye with a slit lamp (a special microscope designed for eye exams). Your ophthalmologist can see cells (white blood cells) and flare (particles of protein) in the fluid that is produced in the eye.
Two other physical exam findings aid your eye doctor in diagnosing iritis. They include:
Topical anesthetics do not relieve the pain associated with iritis.
Shining light in the normal, unaffected eye causes pain in the affected eye if iritis is present. This is because shining light in one eye causes both pupils to constrict. Movement of the affected iris causes pain.
Iritis Treatment at Home
Iritis requires prescription medications and follow-up visits with your eye doctor, so seeking medical care is very important.
Use prescription medications exactly as prescribed.
Wear dark glasses if light worsens your eye pain.
Take mild analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), to help control some of the discomfort.