An Inside Look at Uveitis

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Uveitis is a serious and sometimes painful eye condition that shouldn't be ignored. It's caused by inflammation in the uvea, a layer of tissue just inside the outer white part of your eye. The uvea is made up of a layer of blood vessels, a muscular ring that surrounds your pupil, and the iris, the colored part of your eye.

Together, they help your eyes focus so you can clearly see objects at different distances. They also adjust how much light enters your pupil so you can see in dim or bright light. The blood vessels in the uvea also supply vital nutrients to important parts of the eye, like the retina.

There are four main types of uveitis, depending on where the inflammation happens. The most common kind is called anterior uveitis, which affects the front part of your eye, including the iris and sometimes the muscular ring as well. Intermediate uveitis is when just the muscular ring is inflamed. And posterior uveitis, the least common type, impacts the back of your eye, which includes the layer of blood vessels and retina. When all three areas are inflamed, it's called panuveitis.

Many things can cause uveitis, from infection and injury to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Left untreated, inflammation can cause permanent damage and lead to blindness. If you have eye pain, redness, blurred vision, or light sensitivity, be sure to see an eye doctor for a complete exam, and get treatment early to avoid complications.