Is Uveitis a Symptom of Something Else?

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on November 09, 2020

Uveitis is inflammation in your eye. If your eye doctor says you have it, you may wonder how you got it.

Sometimes, it’s because of another disease.

When you see your eye doctor, they’ll probably ask about your medical history and other symptoms you have. They’ll do this to try and find out if another condition is causing your eye issue.

If so, they can refer you to a specialist to see if one of the conditions below may be causing your uveitis.

Autoimmune Diseases

These happen when your immune system attacks your organs and tissues. It can affect your eyes, too. Most cases of uveitis are caused by an immune system problem.

Ones that can lead to it include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Behcet's disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Ulcerative colitis


Some common ones can lead to uveitis. You may not even notice you have them. In some cases, uveitis can come long after you get the infection.

Some that can trigger uveitis include:

  • Herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores
  • Varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles
  • Tuberculosis (TB), caused by bacteria you can breathe in
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common virus that often has no symptoms. It can cause uveitis in people with weak immune systems.
  • Mumps
  • West Nile virus
  • Lyme disease
  • Cat-scratch disease
  • AIDS
  • Syphilis

It’s rare, but you can also get uveitis after fungal or parasite infections like histoplasmosis or toxoplasmosis.

Eye Injury

You may get uveitis because you’ve hurt your eye. A trauma or bruise there can cause it. Eye surgery can also lead to uveitis.


Lymphoma, a blood cancer, is one rare but possible cause.

Show Sources


National Eye Institute: “Facts About Uveitis.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology.

National Health Services UK: “Uveitis: Causes.” “Uveitis.”

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