Woman with iritis smiling

Iritis, also called anterior uveitis, is inflammation of the eye that mainly affects the iris as well as the ciliary body. The ciliary body is the circular structure in the eye that produces aqueous humor.

Anterior uveitis is common in young and middle-aged adults. It is often characterized by blurry vision, pain, and light sensitivity.

To avoid the condition progressing, it’s crucial to receive prompt diagnosis and treatment for iritis. Not receiving this can lead to serious complications like glaucoma and vision loss.

Treatment for anterior uveitis often focuses on minimizing pain and inflammation. In rare cases, you may need surgery.

Usually, treatment involves using prescription medication. Keep reading to learn more about iritis and how to know if you may have it!

Common Symptoms of Iritis

Symptoms of iritis are usually sudden and occur over a couple of hours or days. If this happens, you’ll experience what’s known as acute iritis.

With acute iritis, you may experience inflammation in one or both eyes. This may feel like your eyes are aching, and may become a recurring issue. The common symptoms of the eye condition include:


The pain usually comes from acute inflammation of the ciliary body and iris. Pain becomes more severe when you focus on something up close, especially a light source.

The iris and ciliary sphincter muscle spasm can lead to different degrees of pain. This ranges from a dull ache to a throbbing sensation to a radiating pain.


Light sensitivity or photophobia is a result of the ciliary muscle spasming. It can also come from the epithelial edema in the cornea.

Other symptoms of anterior uveitis include blurred vision, floaters, redness, watery eyes, and decreased vision.

What Causes Iritis?

There are different causes of iritis like eye trauma, autoimmune diseases, or severe eye infections. But in most instances, the underlying cause is not known.

Genetic Autoimmune Diseases

Diseases that disrupt the immune system can cause anterior uveitis.

Eye Injury

Iritis can occur because of injuries from fire or chemical burns and also from contact with a sharp or blunt object.


These include viral and bacterial eye infections, and in rare cases, infections from HIV or tuberculosis.

Various Medications

Some medications are linked to iritis.

Iritis isn’t contagious because it’s an inflammation that occurs inside the eye.

How Is Iritis Diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist will ask about the symptoms you’re experiencing and when they began. You might also undergo any of these tests:

  • Tonometry – Your eyes are numbed using eye drops before your ophthalmologist touches them with an instrument. The doctor may blow a puff of air into your eyes before measuring your eye pressure with a light.
  • A Slit-Lamp Exam – Your ophthalmologist shines a bright light to get a clearer view of the inside of your eye to check for inflammation. Eye drops may be used to dilate your pupils.

When to See Your Ophthalmologist

See your ophthalmologist if you notice one pupil is smaller than the other or have been experiencing blurred vision, watering of the eye, light sensitivity, and severe eye pain. Visit your eye doctor as soon as possible to get a comprehensive exam and accurate diagnosis.

Have more questions about iritis or other eye conditions? Request an appointment at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL now!