Why Early Intervention is Important for Uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of one or more parts of the pigment layer of the eye called the uvea. This crucial part of the eye provides blood flow to the retina. Uveitis requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications. Impaired vision and blindness may occur without treatment. 

Rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, of Valerius Medical Group & Research Center diagnose and treat a full range of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Uveitis is commonly linked to systemic diseases. A significant proportion of people with uveitis have inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as:

The most common cause of uveitis is the immune system mistakenly targeting and attacking the body’s own tissues. However, infection and toxins that enter the eye can also cause inflammation.

Types of uveitis

There are three primary types of uveitis. They are the following:

Anterior uveitis

Uveitis that occurs in the front of the eye is referred to as anterior uveitis. This is the most prevalent form of uveitis, and it tends to strike young adults and people of middle age.

Intermediate uveitis

Young adults are more prone to developing intermediate uveitis than older adults. It impacts the middle layer of tissue in the eye and is linked to inflammatory diseases.

Posterior uveitis

Posterior uveitis is less common than the intermediate and anterior forms. It affects the tissue at the back of the eye and typically involves the retina and a vascular layer called the choroid.  

It’s possible for inflammation to affect all three parts of the eye. This is known as panuveitis, and left untreated, it can cause significant damage and lead to blindness.

Risks of delayed treatment of uveitis

Uveitis is a threat to eyesight. In fact, uveitis is a common cause of blindness. Without early intervention, uveitis can gradually destroy tissue in parts of the eye. Over time, this can lead to severe vision loss. Because the uvea provides nutrient-rich blood to other parts of the eye, uveitis can affect the lens, retina, optic nerve, and the clear space between the lens and the retina called the vitreous body.

Uveitis can be chronic or occur for short periods and recur. Repeated episodes of inflammation of the eye structures can cause scarring and irreversible damage to the eye. The most common signs and symptoms of uveitis are:

If you have symptoms of uveitis, it’s important to schedule a visit with a doctor who specializes in immune and inflammatory disorders, such as the rheumatologists at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center.

Diagnosing and treating uveitis

Your provider will perform a comprehensive examination and review your medical history. The goal of treatment will be to prevent further tissue damage by eliminating the inflammation. The exact treatment regimen your provider recommends will depend on the type of uveitis you have. Common treatments include corticosteroid eye drops and immune suppressing medications.

Any suspected case of uveitis requires prompt evaluation and treatment to protect your eyesight. Uveitis often requires an interdisciplinary approach, and we will work together with ophthalmologists to provide comprehensive care.

To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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