Iritis

Information found on http://www.iritis.org/

Iritis, also known as Uveitis, is the inflammation of the iris, the coloured portion of the eye. It has been known to cause extreme pain, light sinsitivity and loss of sight, which is often the result of a disease in another part of the body. There are several articles that link the HLA-B27 gene to iritis as well as many other autoimmune diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

While iritis sometimes, occurs only once, most cases are recurring. Once treated the attack will usually respond to various medications. However the condition may become sight threatening when left untreated. Medication for iritis varies, treatment that works for one person will not always work with another.

TREATMENT

Sight loss can be prevented, since iritis is an inflammation inside the eye, the condition is potentially sight threatening. Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment of iritis are essential.

Treatment consists of the use of corticosteroid eye drops and dilating agent drops. Corticosteroid eye drops are used in order to supress inflammation. Initial treatment is often frequent (sometimes as often as every hour) until the inflammation is suppressed.

Treatment is often then tapered. The tapering of steroid eye drops is used in order to prevent a 'rebound' effect which can occur if the medicine is abrubtly discontinued. Cycloplegic agents (dilating drops) are used in order to move the pupil and prevent scarring of the iris and the lens.

Occasionally the iritis will be so severe that it will not respond to the commonly used corticosteroid drops and ointment. In this situation, the use of injections of steroids adjacent to the eye, in addition to the topical corticosteroid medication, may be used. The decision as to which treatment is used for iritis that resists usual treatment is generally made on an individual basis.

To minimize any loss of vision (blindness) the patient should have a complete eye examination as soon as symptoms occur. If diagnosed in the early stages, iritis can usually be controlled with the use of eye drops before vision loss occurs. If you are experiencing the symptoms of iritis or have other vision problems, you should obtain a complete eye examination.

Updated July 2003