DEFINITION: It is the inflammation of the uvea tissue rich in vessels feeding the eye. Uveitis is called by different names depending on the point affected in the eye. If the iris forming the anterior of the uvea is affected, it is called iritis or anterior uveitis. This group constitutes most cases of uveitis. Involvement of the middle part of the uvea is called cyclitis. If the posterior of the uvea is affected, it is called choroiditis. Both eyes of patients are involved most of the time. Uveitis is an insidious and chronic disease. If not treated, which can cause severe damage and loss of vision in the eye.

Figure 1. Hypopyon due to acute anterior uveitis (left) and posterior synechiae formation (adhesions between posterior iris and the anterior lens surface) caused by recurrent uveitis (right).

RISK FACTORS AND CAUSES: Uveitis may occur due to such infection agents as viruses, fungi, and parasites or may occur as the eye involvement of autoimmune-borne collagen tissue and rheumatic diseases. Sarcoidosis, Behcet's Disease, ankylosing, spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis are among other risk factors. Eye surgeries, eye traumas, and tumoral formations may cause uveitis. Although most of the diseases causing uveitis are known, the underlying cause cannot be determined in most patients or the cause can be detected in later years.

FINDINGS: Patients may feel redness, pain, sensitivity to light, decreased vision, or black floaters. The disease may also be detected incidentally during examination.

Figure 2. Fundus photography of posterior (left) and intermedier (right) uveitis.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS: Detecting findings of uveitis in biomicroscopic eye examination is significant in diagnosis. Sometimes, fundus flourescein angiography, retinal tomography, and visual field may be required in order to evaluate the involvement of the optic nerve. To reveal the systemic disease, internal disease, dermatology, pediatrics and rheumatology consultations, various blood tests, and some radiological examinations may also be needed.

TREATMENT: Treatments should be evaluated under two headings: the treatment of underlying diseases and the treatment of visual findings. If a systemic disease is the cause, the treatment must be carried out accordingly. Antibiotic treatments may be required if there is infection. In the treatment of visual findings, drops with steroids and creams enlarging the pupil and in some patients, medications suppressing the immune system systemically should be used. In cases such as glaucoma, cataract, and macular edema caused by uveitis, surgery and medical treatments may be needed. Patents must be observed well and regularly. Some important findings may appear during follow-up.