Why It’s Important to Treat Your Uveitis

Uveitis can lead to serious eye problems if you don’t treat it right away. If you’ve had it for a long time, or if you have it and are over 60, your chance of having those problems goes up.
The disease causes inflammation in your eye. If you don’t treat the inflammation, it can scar or break down tissues. That can harm your vision.

Untreated, uveitis can cause other problems, such as:

Cataracts

These cloud the lens of your eye, which makes it harder for you to see. Inflammation can cause them. You may also be at risk for them if you take steroids for your uveitis.

You may hardly notice your cataract at first. Slowly, your sight may seem blurry or hazy. You might feel like you’re looking at things through a cloud. It can be hard to see when you drive at night. Lights may glare, too.

Surgery can remove your cataract. But most eye doctors will want your inflammation under control for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This can be tricky if you take steroids for your uveitis. Talk with your doctor about it.

Glaucoma

This can happen when the fluid inside of your eye can't drain out.

All the fluid buildup causes pressure. That damages the optic nerve at the back of your eye. As it gets worse, so does your vision.

Glaucoma also can make your vision hazy or cloudy. You may see halos or rings around lights. Other signs are patchy blind spots as you look forward or to the side. Later, you may have tunnel vision. You could also get headaches, eye pain, or nausea.

Damage can come slowly, so you may not notice it at first. But your eye doctor can test you for glaucoma and treat it if you have it. Fast action can help you save your eyesight.

Steroids could also make you more likely to get glaucoma.

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Swollen Retina

Inflammation inside your eye can also cause your retina to swell. Your retina is a thin layer of tissue around the back of your eye. It’s full of light-sensitive cells and nerve cells. They take in sights around you and send that information to your optic nerve and your brain.

If your retina swells from uveitis, you can lose some of your vision in the center. You may see a black spot in the middle of your view. It doesn’t hurt, though. If this swelling lasts for a long time without treatment, your vision loss may be for good.

A swollen retina is also called cystoid macular edema. That’s because the center of your retina is called the macula.

Detached Retina

It’s not as common, but uveitis can make your retina detach, or pull away, from blood vessels in your eye. You may see floaters, or small black spots in your vision. You may also see lights flash.

If any of these things are happening to you, call your doctor and get treatment quickly. Moving fast can save your eyesight.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on November 16, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “What is Glaucoma?”

Mayo Clinic: “Glaucoma Symptoms,” “Cataracts Overview,” “Retinal Diseases.”

National Health Services UK: “Uveitis: Complications.”

National Eye Institute: “Facts About Uveitis.”

Review of Ophthalmology: “Cataract Surgery in the Patient with Uveitis.”

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