Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Eye Health and Uveitis

    Uveitis (pronounced you-vee-EYE-tis) is basically an internal inflammation of the eye. The condition involves the middle layers of the eye, also called the uveal tract or uvea. The uvea includes the iris (colored part of the eye), choroid (a thin membrane containing many blood vessels), and the ciliary body (the part of the eye that joins these together).

    The uvea is very important, because its many veins and arteries transport blood to the parts of the eye that are critical for vision.

    Recommended Related to Eye Health

    7 Foods for Healthy Eyes

    By Alia Hoyt When I was 15 years old, I walked right into a wall because I hadn’t put my contacts in yet that morning. Two broken toes later, my mother waggled a reproachful finger at me and said again that I should’ve eaten more carrots growing up. As it turns out, although carrots are high in plant carotenoids that produce vitamin A -- which is helpful for maintaining eye health at any age -- they are actually not at the top of the ocular superstar food list. Read on to see which foods are mo...

    Read the 7 Foods for Healthy Eyes article > >

    Learn more about the structures that make up the eye in WebMD's "The Amazing Human Eye."

    What Are the Symptoms of Uveitis?

    Symptoms of uveitis may include:

    • Eye redness and irritation
    • Blurred vision
    • Eye pain
    • Increased sensitivity to light
    • Floating spots before the eyes

    Uveitis may develop rapidly, and it is very important that you see your eye doctor for a complete eye exam if you develop these symptoms, especially if a painful, red eye does not clear up quickly.

    Left untreated, uveitis may permanently damage your vision.

    What Causes Uveitis?

    Uveitis has many potential causes, including infection with a virus. Other potential causes include fungus, bacteria, parasite, inflammatory disease affecting other parts of the body, or injury to the eye.

    There are four types of uveitis:

    • Iritis is the most common form of uveitis. It affects the iris and is often associated with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or sarcoidosis. Iritis may develop suddenly and may last weeks, even with treatment. Rare cases are chronic and require close, long- term monitoring.
    • Cyclitis is an inflammation of the middle portion of the eye and may affect the muscle that focuses the lens. This also may develop suddenly and last several months.
    • Retinitis affects the back of the eye. It may be rapidly progressive, making it difficult to treat. Retinitis may be caused by viruses such as shingles or herpes and bacterial infections such as syphilis or toxoplasmosis.
    • Choroiditis is an inflammation of the layer beneath the retina. It may also be caused by an infection such as tuberculosis.

    Retinitis and choroiditis can each be caused by an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. In a large number of cases, the cause of uveitis is not known. Stress is sometimes suspected, because the inflammation is triggered by the body's immune system.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article