Iritis: How is it treated?

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Iritis: How is it treated?

Question

What causes iritis? How is it treated?

Steve
Canada

Answer

Iritis is the most common type of uveitis — inflammation of the concentric middle layer of the eye (uvea). The cause of iritis, which involves inflammation of the iris and other structures at the front of the eye, can't always be determined. It often occurs in otherwise healthy people.

Known causes of iritis include:

  • Injury to the eye
  • Infection of the eye with the herpes virus
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout

The iris is the colored part of the eye, which lies behind the transparent cornea. Muscles controlling the iris change the size of the pupil to adjust to light conditions. Signs and symptoms or iritis may include:

  • Redness of the eye, especially in the white part of the eye near the iris
  • Discomfort in the affected eye
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Floating spots in the vision (eye floaters)

Acute iritis requires prompt medical evaluation by an ophthalmologist. Treatment depends on the underlying cause but may include:

  • Dilating eyedrops
  • Steroid medications

Proper treatment of iritis reduces the risk of potential complications, such as glaucoma, cataracts and fluid within the retina (cystoid macular edema).

Iris

Illustration of iris

The iris is the colored part of your eye. It contains a ring of muscle fibers that can expand (dilate) or contract the size of the pupil, and thereby control the amount of light that enters your eyeball.

Last Updated: 01/03/2007
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