What Is Iritis?

man holding his nose due to iritis

Iritis is inflammation of the colored part of your eye called the iris. It also causes inflammation of the anterior chamber, which is the space between your iris and cornea.

Iritis affects all ages, even children, and can result in complete vision loss. Although, it is most common in young to middle-aged people.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for iritis.

Causes of Iritis

The iris is a sensitive area of your eye, and numerous external factors can affect it. Almost anything that can damage your eye could cause iritis, including the following:

  • Infection
  • Eye trauma
  • Reaction to medications
  • Post-surgery inflammation
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Herpes zoster or shingles

In some instances, the cause of iritis is unknown. However, your ophthalmologist will treat you based on your specific symptoms.

Iritis Signs and Symptoms

Iritis can affect one or both eyes, and symptoms usually develop very quickly. Inflammation of the iris comes with the following symptoms and signs:

  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Watery, red, irritated eyes
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of vision

You can have chronic or acute iritis. Chronic iritis develops gradually, while the symptoms of acute iritis are usually sudden.

Additionally, you might experience only one episode of iritis. But repeated episodes are common if you have an underlying inflammatory disorder.

Complications of Iritis

You must treat iritis. If you let it go untreated, it can lead to severe complications.

Iritis can affect nearly every part of your eye. It can cause glaucoma, retina damage, including macular edema, and cataract development. All these conditions develop in the back of your eye, even though the iris is in the front.

Iritis can also decrease the size of your pupil. This decrease in size limits the amount of light that can enter your eye, cutting down on your vision.

It can also impair your vision by causing deposits of calcium on your cornea. These calcium deposits block light from entering your eye, which blocks your vision.

Lastly, iritis can cause abnormal adhesion of your iris to other parts of your eye. If your iris is sticking to other parts of your eye, none of them will be able to function well. A sticky iris also impairs your vision.

Iritis Diagnosis

A thorough eye exam is essential in evaluating your eyes for iritis. Also, your eye doctor may conduct a slit-lamp exam to have a clearer view of the inside of your eye, along with other tests.

Depending on your symptoms, your eye doctor might try to establish the exact cause of your iritis. For example, they may do blood tests to check for infection or autoimmune diseases.

Treatment of Iritis

The severity and cause of your iritis determine what your treatment will be. Prompt medical treatment is crucial if you have iritis.

Treating it in time will prevent possible damage to your eye tissue that could lead to vision loss. Iritis treatments include eye drops to reduce inflammation and pressure.

If your iritis is severe enough, these may need to be steroid drops. Your eye doctor may prescribe oral steroids as well to suppress your immune system.

If another condition is causing your iritis, you will need to treat that condition first. Iritis treatments will be more effective once you treat your underlying condition.

Concerned you might have iritis? Schedule an appointment at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL. Don’t risk losing your vision to a treatable condition like iritis!

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