Understanding — and Recognizing — the 4 Types of Uveitis

Understanding — and Recognizing — the 4 Types of Uveitis

You want to do everything you can to preserve your vision, which means recognizing when there’s a problem so that you can get prompt, potentially vision-saving, treatment.

To help, the team of ophthalmologists here at Suburban Eye Associates thought we’d do our part by providing you with some information on the many problems that can affect your eyes. In this month’s blog post we tackle uveitis, which is a relatively rare problem and, thankfully, not too serious if we’re able to intervene early.

Here’s a look at the four types of uveitis and the common signs that accompany this eye disease.

Eye anatomy 101

To better understand uveitis, it’s helpful to take a quick look at the anatomy of the area we’re discussing — your uvea. Each of your eyes has three layers:

  1. Sclera — the white part at the front
  2. Uvea — the middle layer of your eye
  3. Retina — the light sensitive layer inside your eye

Your uvea contains three parts, including your iris, which is the colored part of your eye; your ciliary body, which helps with focusing; and your choroid, which connects your retina to your sclera.

What is uveitis?

In very basic terms, uveitis is inflammation in your uvea, which typically occurs when you’re fighting off an eye infection. Uveitis can also stem from autoimmune disorders that target the tissues in your eyes.

Left unchecked, this inflammation can damage your uvea, as well as other parts of your eye, which is why early intervention is key.

Recognizing uveitis

There are four different types of uveitis, which describe the areas of your uvea that are affected. These four types include:

  1. Anterior uveitis, which is the most common type and affects your iris
  2. Intermediate uveitis, which is also called cyclitis as it involves your ciliary body
  3. Posterior uveitis (or choroiditis or retinitis) affects the back part of your uvea
  4. Panuveitis, which affects the entire uvea

Whichever type of uveitis you develop, the symptoms are often the same. In the early stages, uveitis can cause blurry vision, floaters, pain, redness, and sensitivity to light. These symptoms typically come on very rapidly and can affect one eye or both.

At the first signs of a problem, it’s important that you come see us so that we can clear up the infection (if applicable) and reduce the inflammation. 

Left untreated, uveitis can lead to issues with cataracts, glaucoma, optic nerve damage, and retinal detachment. As a result, untreated uveitis does have the potential to damage your eyes to the point where you lose vision. Some patients also develop chronic uveitis and we tackle the inflammation flare-ups as they arise.

If you suspect you may have uveitis or you’d like to learn more, we invite you to contact one of our three locations in Huntingdon Valley, Jenkintown, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to set up an appointment.

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