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Anterior Uveitis and how to treat it
Anterior Uveitis (also called iritis) is an inflammatory condition affecting the front of the iris, the coloured part of your eye. It causes eye pain – usually a dull ache in or around your eye, which may be worse on focusing.
Attacks can develop suddenly or gradually and usually affect just one eye at a time, although occasionally both can be affected simultaneously. Anterior Uveitis should be treated promptly as it may be a painful condition and, if untreated, may cause problems with your vision.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
In over half of our patients no cause can be found. In others it is associated with other inflammatory conditions in the body such as arthritis, specific genetic alteration, autoimmune disorders or infections such as tuberculosis, syphilis or HIV.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
With acute Anterior Uveitis, you may suffer from an aching red eye made which can be even more painful in bright light or when you try to read. Chronic Anterior Uveitis is harder to detect as the eye may be pain-free and not even red.
TREATMENT AND RECOVERY
With your first case of Anterior Uveitis, it’s unlikely that you’ll need blood tests or X-rays. However, in some patients where there are recurrent episodes, both eyes are affected at the same time or there are other health concerns, blood tests and X-rays may be needed. This is to check there is no associated medical condition linked to or responsible for the eye inflammation.
Anterior uveitis is treated with eye drops, and you are usually given three types that work together:
- Steroid eye drops to reduce the inflammation
- Dilating eye drops to relieve pain and help the eye to rest
- Drops to reduce your eye pressure, which may have gone up because of the inflammation or the use of steroid eye drops
Long-term use of the steroid drops causes particular health concerns, so your clinical team will be keen to take you off them at the earliest possible opportunity.
Attacks can last for varying lengths of time, but typically between 6-8 weeks. Your symptoms should clear up within a few days but you will need to keep taking the treatment for longer while the inflammation subsides. If symptoms persist, you should go to see an eye specialist immediately.
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