What is Iritis?

Iritis, also known as anterior uveitis, is an inflammation of the iris, the colored portion of the eye. The iris is located at the front of the uvea, a highly vascular fibrous tissue. Iritis is the more common form of uveitis and frequently manifests in young to middle-aged individuals. Iritis usually develops quickly and may only affect one eye.

Causes Of Iritis

The causes of iritis are unknown but it has been caused by some of the following:

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Infection
  • Shingles, or Herpes zoster ophthalmicus
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reaction to medication

Symptoms Of Iritis

The symptoms of iritis usually develop quickly and unexpectedly, while in some individuals they form slowly.

Distinguishing symptoms of iritis may include:

  • Irritation and redness of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • The appearance of floaters

Diagnosis Of Iritis

Iritis is diagnosed after a physical examination of the eye has taken place. In order to confirm diagnosis, the doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Slit lamp examination
  • Visual acuity examination
  • Test for glaucoma

As a light is focused on the eyes, the eye with iritis will experience pain because of the constriction of the pupil.

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Treatment Of Iritis

To treat iritis, the patient will be encouraged to wear dark glasses and take drops to dilate the pupil to relieve pain and pressure. Serious cases of iritis may require an extended use of steroid eye drops as well as oral steroids to suppress the immune system. Iritis that results from an underlying condition such as herpes, AIDS or syphilis, will see improvement in the eye and iris once the disease is treated otherwise, iritis may become a chronic condition.

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