Uveitis is a disorder of the eye involving inflammation of the uvea. The uvea includes the iris (coloured part of the eye), the ciliary muscle (determining the power of the lens) and the choroid (layer of tissue responsible for the blood supply) and surrounds the vitreous body (gel-like fluid).
Symptoms of uveitis generally include painful sensitivity to light and decreased vision.
Uveitis may be caused by a number of different diseases. One classification of the disorder is based on the location of the inflammation within the eye.
- Uveitis anterior: Inflammation of the anterior (front) part of the uvea, especially the iris and the ciliary muscle.
- Intermediate Uveitis: Inflammation of the central part of the uvea, particularly the vitreous body, as well as the anterior chamber or the lower transitional zone between the retina and the ciliary muscle.
- Posterior Uveitis: Includes changes of the retina and the choroid.
- Panuveitis: While panuveitis involves inflammatory cells in all three areas, it does not indicate the severity of the disorder.
Another approach to classifying uveitis is to verify whether the pattern of disease in the eye is related to another disorder.
The following classification is also used to describe the disorder:
- Primary Uveitis: (approx. 40% of patients): only the eye is affected by the disease.
- Secondary Uveitis: (approx. 60% of patients): caused by other diseases.
Possible examination methods: Slit-lamp (examination of the anterior segment or front of the eye) exam (for example, SL-OCT), ophthalmoscopy
Example of Fuchs uveitis syndrome: (click to enlarge the image)
Image courtesy of Dr. Friederike Mackensen, University Clinics Heidelberg, Germany