Intraocular Inflammation and Infection

Internal ocular inflammation often called uveitis. While the specific cause of uveitis may be unknown, it is often caused by an robust response by our own body’s immune system to an external pathogen or other internal disease process.  The response of the immune system can cause ocular swelling, light sensitivity, decreased vision and pain.

Specifically, uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the retina and the sclera (white of the eye).

There are several types of uveitis, defined by the part of the eye where it occurs.

  • Iritis affects the front of your eye. Also called anterior uveitis, this is the most common type of uveitis. Iritis usually develops suddenly and may last six to eight weeks.
  • If the uvea is inflamed in the middle of the eye, it is called pars planitis (or intermediate uveitis). Episodes of pars planitis can last between a few weeks to years. The disease goes through cycles of getting better, then worse.
  • Posterior uveitis affects the back of your eye. Posterior uveitis can develop slowly and often lasts for many years.
  • Panuveitis occurs when all layers of the uvea are inflamed.

The doctors at Nevada Retina Associates often use eyedrops, especially corticosteroids and pupil dilators, which can reduce inflammation and pain. For more severe inflammation, oral medication or injections may be necessary.  In some cases, care may require collaborative management with your PCP or a rheumatologist.

Ocular infections

Ocular infections inside the eye are a condition called endophthalmitis.  It is most often caused by infection with bacteria or other microorganisms. It can occur following ocular trauma, or migration of bacteria from an infection elsewhere in the body or as a rare complication of any eye surgery.

This type of infection can lead to permanent vision impairment thus prompt diagnosis and treatment is required.

Diagnosis and treatment may require ocular injections of antibiotics alone or in combination with surgical procedures in order to save an eye with endophthalmitis.
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