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Iritis (Eyeritis)

Q.   What is Eyeritis?

Correct spelling is Iritis.  Read questions below about Uveitis and Iritis


Q.    I have uveitis.  I know traditional ways of curing this disease with corticosteroids, but I wanted to avoid side effects.  Do you know any alternative ways to cure uveitis?

Uveitis is a generic term that covers inflammation of any part of the uveal tract - iris, ciliary body and choroid.  Depending on the exact site of the inflammation, the name given to the disease will vary.  For example, if the inflammation is localized to the iris it is referred to as iritis, to the ciliary body and vitreous - cyclitis, to the anterior chamber and anterior vitreous - iridocyclitis, and to the choroid - choroiditis.  If all parts are involved - panuveitis.  Symptoms depend on what part of the eye is affected and may include red eye, watery discharge, sensitivity to light, decreased vision, floaters, pain and even abnormal pupils.  The causes of uveitis are numerous, and include sources within the eye itself as well as sources from other parts of the body (e.g., fungal , viral and bacterial infections).   The purpose of treatment is to eliminate the cause of the inflammation, suppress the inflammation and, hopefully, avoid complications of treatment. 

In general, the earlier the treatment the better.  Unfortunately, due to the multifactorial nature of uveitis, the specific type of treatment depends on the cause.   This is why a through medical history is probably one of the most important parts of the diagnostic evaluation.  As you suggest, corticosteroids, which can be considered a type of nonspecific anti-inflammatory therapy, have numerous and sometimes very serious complications.  As a consequence, new therapies are being developed which involve focused anti-inflammatory therapies as well as specific antimicrobial therapies - again, depending on the cause.  There is an ongoing clinical trial on the effects of cyclosporine on noninfectious uveitis (for further information see the NIH Web site: no longer available).   Also, there has been a clinical trial on the use of  acetazolamide (but with significant side effects) for uveitis associated with cystoid macular edema (for more information see NIH Web site:  No longer available).

Due to the complex nature of uveitis - your eye doctor would know the best and most prudent therapy for your type of  uveitis.  Ask your eye doctor if there are alternatives to corticosteroids but remember; uveitis can be a real nasty disease, don't avoid therapy -  your sight may depend upon it.


Q.    The doctor recently told me that I should have a physical by my general practitioner because I have iritis and iritis is related to an autoimmune disorder.  Is this right?

Iritis is a form of uveitis and, yes, iritis is sometimes associated with an autoimmune disorder (as well as trauma).  For example, iritis sometimes occurs in rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid spondylitis, Reiter's syndrome and herpes simplex, among others.  Also, autoimmune suppressive drugs are sometimes employed to fight iritis/uveitis.  You doctor is on-the-ball and follow his instructions.


Q.    I have iritis in both eyes and having treatment.  How can I stop it from happening again and how did I get it in the first place?

 These are good questions that, unfortunately, have no easy answers.






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