Uveitis is inflammation in the middle part of the eye, called the uvea. There are several types of uveitis, but anterior uveitis is the most common.

About anterior uveitis or iritis

Anterior uveitis is also called iritis because it usually affects the iris, the colored part of your eye. In acute anterior uveitis, the inflammation develops quickly and lasts for a few weeks. However, some types of anterior uveitis tend to recur. Chronic inflammation of the uvea is called chronic anterior uveitis.  

What causes anterior uveitis?

Possible iritis causes include:

  • Infection with a virus
  • An inflammatory disease that affects the rest of the body, such as colitis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • An eye injury – Being struck in the eye or having an object penetrate the eye can cause iritis.

Anterior uveitis can also happen with no clear cause. An ophthalmologist can diagnose iritis (anterior uveitis) with a comprehensive eye exam and refer you to another doctor if it seems that another disease could be causing it.

Anterior uveitis symptoms

Anterior uveitis symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision or difficulty seeing normally
  • Light sensitivity – for example, normal light seems too bright for your eyes.
  • Floaters – small objects that seem to “float” in your vision even when you look at a blank area such as a wall.

The symptoms of iritis (anterior uveitis) are similar to symptoms of other eye conditions, so it is important to learn what is causing your symptoms as soon as possible. If you have any of the symptoms listed, contact your primary care doctor or an eye doctor. Untreated iritis can lead to serious eye problems, including loss of vision.

Anterior uveitis treatment

Iritis is usually treated with eye drops to reduce inflammation and dilate the pupil, which reduces painful muscle spasms. If the iritis does not go away with eye drops, your eye doctor can recommend additional treatment.

Are you concerned about iritis or another eye problem? You are always welcome to call Oregon Eye Specialists at 503-935-5580. Physicians at each of our 10 clinics are trained and experienced at recognizing iritis, other types of uveitis and other eye conditions.

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