Health

Eye Inflammation (Uveitis) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Evidence Based Article đź“„
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

Though every part of the body is special in its own peculiar way, the eyes play a key role in the body’s function.

They are tasked with the duty of creating visions for every individual and in the same vein retains the ability to connect information to be processed to the brain.

Your eyes – just like any other part of the body – are equally prone to illnesses. Eye inflammation, also called uveitis, is one of the most common ones.

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Below you’ll find every associated symptoms and causes of an eye inflammation and how it can be kept at bay with the help of medical and or natural remedies.

What Is Uveitis?

The eye is a complex organ and it is not only limited to your eyeballs. Parts of the human eye include the iris/pupil, the cornea, the sclera, fovea, macula, retina just to mention a few …and on the outer part, there’s the upper and lower eyelid.

Each of these highlighted parts all has their core functions and just like a running vehicle gets glitches all the time, they can have glitches too.

When neglected, each tiny part of your eyes become prone to infectious that can eventually lead to uveitis. Uveitis is commonly used in reference to a collection of inflammatory diseases that cause swelling in the eyes, and as a result, destroying the highly important eye tissues in the process.

The end result of uveitis can sometimes be severe. It could lead to a drastic reduction in the quality of your vision or in actual fact, a complete loss of the vision.

Uveitis is a type of inflammation that occurs in the uvea. The uvea is that vascular layer of the eye located between the retina and sclera.

The components of the uvea include the iris (the visible colored circle you can see in your eye), ciliary body (this is a ring of muscle behind the iris, a collection of tissue that helps to connect the iris with the choroid and it is also the part that helps to keep your eye lens clear), and the choroid layer (the blood vessels whose core duty is to supply the retina essential nutrients).

Apart from the uvea, uveitis can affect other parts of the eye, such as the optic nerve, retina, and also the lens (as these are the parts that make up the uvea as explained above).

Statistics have shown that uveitis is the fourth leading cause of loss of vision in the US and is common among people between the ages of 20-60 years. There are four types of uveitis that can affect anyone regardless of the age, though. They are posterior uveitis, anterior uveitis, panuveitis uveitis, and intermediate uveitis.

The Leading Causes of Uveitis

There’s no reaction that comes without a cause. An action or inaction always triggers a response. It is in this light that our body as a natural reaction to illnesses or infection gets inflamed.

Though the most common indicator of uveitis is an inflammation of the eye, there are recorded cases (though rare) where patients never had any visible signs of inflammation.

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There are different causes of Uveitis but the most common ones are:

  • Injuries: An injury to the eye is one of the leading causes of uveitis and if left unchecked, may lead to aggravated issues. That’s why it’s important to have your eyes checked regularly.
  • Autoimmune condition: This is perhaps the most common cause of uveitis. Ordinarily, the body can protect us from viruses, bacteria, and other kinds of infections. As soon as the body senses the invasion of these intruders, it naturally puts up some cells that would resist the attack.
  • An autoimmune condition occurs where the cells that are supposed to fight intruders begin to combat against the healthy cells of the body.
  • Infections: Infections have the ability to cause swelling and damage of the vital eye tissues. Where left unchecked and untreated, it may wreck the aggravating effects on the eyes like the loss of vision of one or two eyes.

There are the situations where the cause of an eye inflammation may not fall under the above conditions. In those instances, the cause of uveitis might be chalked up to some medical conditions you’re not aware of.

In other cases, there are also certain cancers, such as lymphoma, which may have certain effects on the eye and may lead to Uveitis.

The Most Common Symptoms of Uveitis

There are many symptoms you may experience with regards to uveitis, albeit most of these symptoms may be closely related to other eye conditions. Some of the most common symptoms of Uveitis include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Eye pain – both mild and severe
  • Extra sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiny specks or dots clouding the affected eye

While these are the most common symptoms, in some cases, you may also feel any of the following:

  • Reduced quality of vision
  • In aggravated stages: loss of vision
  • Severe swelling in the eye area

As stated, uveitis may occur in the different area of the eye and though symptoms may be similar, sometimes, depending on the location of the uveitis, patients may suffer dissimilar symptoms.

For example, an anterior uveitis usually affects the front of the eye and posterior uveitis affects the back of the eye. The symptoms that may accompany anterior Uveitis can include the eye pain, redness of the eye, sensitivity to light, a smaller sized pupil, and in some cases, blurry vision.

An intermediate uveitis, on the other hand, in most cases isn’t accompanied by the pain. The vision just gets blurred with time and you may also see things like specks affecting your clear vision.

The symptoms of posterior Uveitis may include vision loss. No other symptom has been associated with this type of uveitis but in all, getting eye tests is necessary to determine what symptom you’re experiencing.

There’s no particular progression of the symptoms, neither is there any recorded manner in which they occur. The symptoms may occur suddenly or can be gradual in nature. Studies show that in most cases of uveitis, symptoms always start slowly with one eye, and if left unchecked or untreated, progresses to the other eye.

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It goes to say that if you feel any of the above symptoms, do not hesitate to get your eye checked to allay your fears and to confirm whether your eyes are in the perfect condition. Early diagnosis helps prevent a lot of hazards.

How to Cure Uveitis

If you notice the first symptoms of an eye inflammation, it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible.

There are both medical and natural remedies for treating uveitis, however, make sure your doctor knows which natural remedies you’re going to try. This will help you avoid the possible complications and successfully cure the inflammation.

Medical Remedies

A patient with uveitis who gets treated promptly in the hospital recovers much faster than at home. The early diagnosis though, is essential to avoid a hazard. Otherwise, there’s the risk of having glaucoma, edema, or even cataract and in severe cases an irreversible loss of vision.

Medical remedies include:

  • Antibiotics or antiviral medication: Where the uveitis is caused by an infection, it’s necessary that the infection is treated with the use of antibiotics. In case of viruses, they can be treated with antiviral medication and fungal infections can be treated with the use of antifungal medications.
  • Immunosuppressant: These may be recommended in cases where symptoms are very severe and the patient runs a risk of vision loss or in cases where the patient hasn’t responded well to other therapies administered. The work of the immunosuppressant is focused on controlling the immune system and disrupting the process of inflammation.
  • Surgery: In rare instances, an eye operation may be needed to treat an eye inflammation. This process though, isn’t usually recommended but useful when a patient has severe or repeated cases of Uveitis. The process involves the gentle extraction of the vitreous humor (a jelly like substance found inside of the eyes.) In the process of the operation, the fluid inside the eye would be replaced temporarily with an air bubble or gas and in some cases a combination of the two. The end result is that the vitreous humor would replace itself naturally.
  • Corticosteroid medications: These are only used in situations where there’s a risk of a serious vision loss and where injections or eye drops haven’t worked. They are also used in cases of posterior uveitis. Corticosteroid medications are available in tablets or capsules (oral corticosteroids) and they’re the strongest form of corticosteroids in the world. Because its use is accompanied with a lot of side effects, they’re only administered where there’s a risk of the loss of vision.
  • Mydriatic eye drops: Patients who suffer from anterior Uveitis are often given mydriatic eye drops in addition to steroid medication. The eye drops help to dilate the pupils, and in the process relaxing the eye muscles, it helps to stop the pain and prevent the pupil from getting stuck to the eye lens. The eye drops also help to mitigate the risks of getting glaucoma. The use of the drops may cause temporary blur in the patient’s vision.
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Natural Remedies

As much as the medical remedies are the first few options to explore to treat uveitis, there are also natural remedies to consider.

While the medical remedies are more effective and they help to treat the underlying conditions that cause an eye inflammation, they do possess some serious side effects, including digestive issues and weak immunity.

The natural remedies help to manage the most common symptoms of uveitis, but they’re useless when you experience the severe symptoms:

  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the light.
  • Take a daily healthy dose of multivitamins.
  • Use cool compresses (in some cases your compress may be warm) to help calm swelling or provide immediate relief from the pain.
  • Stick to a well-balanced diet that helps your eye health (tomatoes, peppers, blueberry etc. are all helpful foods in this category).
  • Control any autoimmune or inflammatory conditions you may have.
  • Incorporate turmeric into your meal plan or consider turmeric supplementing. Turmeric boasts potent antioxidant properties that help to protect and improve the functioning of your immune system and thus help you cope with an eye inflammation faster. Numerous studies have shown that turmeric in any form can help to relieve the chronic uveitis symptoms.

How to Ward Off Eye Inflammation

Prevention is the best treatment. Whether you suffered from an eye inflammation in the past or not, you can take some preventative actions to ward off uveitis:

  • Reduce the exposure to certain infectious causes of uveitis, such as tuberculosis, Lyme disease, syphilis, and toxoplasmosis among the others.
  • Injury to the eye is one of the leading causes of an eye inflammation so protect your eyes whenever you’re going to do anything that potentially puts the eye in the danger of getting injured.
  • Consume foods rich in antioxidants. These are effective in fighting and preventing inflammation within the body, reducing your risk of an eye inflammation.
  • Strengthen your immune system daily. Eat your fruit and veggies to boost your immunity and lower the risk of an inflammation. The weakened immune system shows a green light to a host of recurrent and chronic infections.

Uveitis may not be a life-threatening illness, but it can negatively affect your eye health.

Unfortunately, most cases of uveitis are chronic ones because patients tend to either ignore the symptoms of the disease or try to cure it at home. When ignored, an eye inflammation causes some harsh complications, including cataracts, clouding of the cornea, glaucoma, increased eye pressure (IOP), retinal detachment or swelling of the retina.

Avoid these complications by visiting a doctor as soon as you experience the early signs of the inflammation.

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