Close up on human eye

Have you ever asked youself, “Which one is it, Uveitis or Iritis”?

Both Uveitis and Iritis have the suffix ‘itis’ which means inflammation. Broadly speaking Uveitis is an inflammation of any part of the uvea, while Iritis is the term used to denote the inflammation of a more specific region, the iris. The uvea is basically the middle region of the eye, which includes the iris at the front and goes all the way back to the retina and choroid. Iritis can be classified as one of the disorders under the broad term ‘Uveitis’.

Iritis also called Anterior Uveitis

Another name for Iritis is Anterior Uveitis because the iris makes up the anterior region of the Uvea. The iris is the colored part of the human eye, right in the center. The cause may not always be clear, but it can be due to autoimmune disorders, arthritis, injury or infections. Iritis symptoms can manifest at a rapid pace and can include eye pain, redness of the eye, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or a distorted pupil. Normally the disease affects only a single eye at one time. If not treated properly, it can cause permanent damage to the eye.

The most commonly affected category of people is the young and middle aged. After the onset of the disease the aim is to control the inflammation and prevent any complications, since Iritis doesn’t have a direct cure. Iritis can be recurring if proper care is not takes, hence it is encouraged that you keep all your follow up visits with your eye doctor. Besides taking medical prescriptions, one can wear sunglasses to reduce the light sensitivity. Also certain medications can be taken to reduce any pain and discomfort.

Uveitis as discussed above is a broad term, under which there are a number of diseases associated with uvea region.

  • Anterior Uveitis: This is another name for Iritis, and it affects the Iris or colored portion of the eye.
  • Intermediate Uveitis: It is also known as pars planitis and is an inflammation involving a substance called vitreous gel. This gel fills most of the eye cavity and the tissue that connects the front and back of the eye, the pars plana.
  • Posterior Uveitis: Another name for this ailment is chorioretinitis, at it affects the back of the eye. It causes the inflammation of the retina and choroid. Choroid is a network of blood vessels at the back of the eye.

The causes of Uveitis are not known in most cases and hence it could be idiopathic in nature for some patients. Causes could include:

  •  Infection: Herpes, syphilis, Lyme disease etc.
  • Autoimmune disorders: Reiter’s syndrome, sarcoidosis, arthritis.
  • Damage to Eye: An ulcer on the eye or a scratch to the eye can bring about an onset on Uveitis.

Diagnosis of Uveitis, is normally only confirmed by an eye exam and if treated in its early stages no lasting loss in vision is noticed. Treatment of Iritis takes about 6-8 weeks, but the treatment procedure for intermediate and posterior uveitis is much more complex and may take a longer period. Since the condition could reoccur, keep visiting your doctor for regular checkups.

Do you have uveitis or iritis? You have iritis which is a form of uveitis.