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Uveitis is inflammation of any part of the uvea and is classified by the part of uvea that is inflamed.
Anterior Uveitis affects the front of the eye. It is often called iritis because it mainly affects the area around the eye’s iris. Anterior uveitis is the most common kind of uveitis making up 40-70% of all uveitis. It is usually acute (i.e. comes on suddenly and lasts for less than six weeks) and is associated with pain, light sensitivity and redness.
Intermediate Uveitis is inflammation of the ciliary body, the front end of the retina, and the vitreous. Intermediate uveitis is the least common type of uveitis, making up only 7-15% of cases. It is also known as cyclitis, pars planitis or vitritis. In most of the cases, the cause is unknown. Symptoms include floaters and blurred vision.
Anatomy of UVEA
The Uvea is the middle layer of the eyeball. The eye is made of three layers. The outermost is the sclera and cornea which keep the contents intact and maintain its shape. The inner layer is the retina which is highly sophisticated neural tissue and forms the image that is sent to the brain via the optic nerve. The middle layer is the uvea and is responsible for the ‘housekeeping’ of the eye. It carries the blood vessels, nerves, pigment cells and immune cells. It extends from the front to the
back of the eye and at different parts is called differently. In the front is the Iris and anterior part of the ciliary body (anterior uvea), in the middle is the posterior part of the ciliary body (pars plana) (intermediate uvea) and posteriorly it is called the choroid.
Symptoms of Uveitis
The symptoms depend on the location of the uveitis. Anterior uveitis usually presents as a painful, red eye with mild blurring of vision. In intermediate and posterior uveitis, the eye is not so painful but the patient sees multiple small floaters (like a dust storm) with or without blurring or severe loss of vision.
Causes of Uveitis
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, or trauma. To treat uveitis, doctors look for the cause of the trauma to the eye however in the majority of cases a cause (as many as a third or half of all uveitis) cannot be found. It is then believed that there may be an abnormal triggering of the body’s immune system causing the uveitis (autoimmune diseases).Many times the underlying condition may not be symptomatic & eye may be first organ to be affected.
Amongst the known causes uveitis can be caused by different kinds of organisms, including a virus, bacteria , parasites or rarely fungus. Genes can play an important role in uveitis.
In more than a third of all cases of anterior uveitis, the exact cause is unknown.
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