The Four Types of Uveitis, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Complications

Blurry vision, light sensitivity, and eye floaters may signify inflammation within the eyes. A visit to an eye specialist may reveal a myriad of causes, uveitis among them. Uveitis is the inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, which appears blue or almost black. The iris, the choroid, and the ciliary body make up the uvea, a part of the eye with numerous blood vessels. Other names with similar to uvea are the uveal tract, uveal coat, and vascular tunica.

Uveitis also affects the lens, retina, optic nerve and the vitreous. The inflammation, destruction of tissues and consequent failure of the visual immune system signify uveitis attack. As a medical emergency, a thorough examination must be carried out by either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist to determine the extent of the attack. Urgent treatment must follow to control the swelling.

Uveitis can be chronic, but in some cases, it is a one-time episode. The malady affects the anterior, intermediate or the posterior part of the eye. The inflammation of choroid, ciliary body and iris simultaneously result in pan-uveitis. There are four types of uveitis.

Inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body only results in anterior uveitis.

Symptoms of anterior uveitis are;

  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye floaters
  • Redness of the eye
  • Burning of the eye
  • Irregular pupil
  • Headaches
  • Dilated ciliary vessels
  • Presence of flares in the anterior chamber

Intermediate uveitis affects the peripheral retina and the vitreous. Inflammation occurs primarily in the vitreous, which encompasses Pars planitis, posterior cyclitis, and hyalitis. Intermediate uveitis is the first expression of a systemic condition because of its close association with systemic diseases such as multiple sclerosis. This type of uveitis commonly affects children and young adults. However, the condition can occur at any age.


  • Redness of the eye
  • Pain
  • Blurring of vision
  • Photophobia
  • Floaters

Posterior uveitis attacks the retina and the choroid, thus the name choroiditis. The condition is the least common among the four categories.


  • Floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Photopsia /seeing flashing lights

The inflammation of the ciliary body, the iris, and the choroid simultaneously results in pan-uveitis, a condition that severely damages the retina.

Causes of Uveitis

The primary cause of uveitis is not apparent. However, the following may be contributing factors.

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Surgery
  • Autoimmune disorders such as sarcoidosis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, sympathetic ophthalmia, Spondyloarthritis
  • An inflammatory disorder such as ulcerative colitis
  • An infection such as syphilis, herpes zoster, toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis, Lyme disease and brucellosis
  • Cancer of the eye
  • Side effects of drugs such as quinolones and rifabutin
  • Genetic predisposing factors such as HLA-B27 and PTPN22 genotype


  • Testing underlying conditions through Blood tests
  • Radiology X-rays to show coexisting arthritis and chest x-rays for sarcoidosis
  • Angiography
  • Dilated fundus examination

Uveitis Treatment

The treatment of uveitis primarily aims at reducing the inflammation. An ophthalmologist may prescribe the following;

  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops drugs usually corticosteroids. If not active, administration of corticosteroid pills or injection follows.
  • Antibiotics and antivirals to treat bacterial and viral infections that may be causing the uveitis. In some cases, administration of any drugs without corticosteroids may be work proficiently.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs when the uveitis occurs in both eyes and is not responsive to corticosteroids.


  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular oedema
  • Band keratopathy
  • Permanent loss of vision

Source by Adam Wanyonyi Ford

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