EYE INJURY AND INFLAMMATORY DISEASES
PAO SUBSPECIALTY SOCIETY: PHILIPPINE OCULAR INFLAMMATION SOCIETY
1. What is Uveitis?
The wall of the human eye is composed of three (3) layers. The outermost fibrous layer is made up of the cornea and sclera (the white shell). The uvea is the middle vascular portion of the three layers. The innermost neural layer includes the retina. Located between the sclera and retina, the uvea is the pigmented tissue visible in the front of the eye as the iris, but it also extends all the way to the back of the eye as the ciliary body and choroid. When inflammation involves the uvea tract, the term “uveitis” is used.
2. What are the symptoms of uveitis?
Uveitis may present in a variety of ways. More commonly, the anterior form of uveitis may present with eye redness, tearing, mild eye pain, photophobia (increased glare) and in some cases blurring of vision. The posterior forms of uveitis typically present with floaters and/or painless blurring of vision, without much redness.
3. What causes Uveitis?
Uveitis may be caused by infectious and noninfectious processes. As such, there are many possible causes of uveitis and many more which science have not even discovered at present. Some causes include parasites, tuberculosis, genetic diseases, and many others. It is estimated that 10% to 15% of the blindness in the United States is due to uveitis. Local collections of data on uveitis causing blindness in the Philippines are underway.
4. Is Uveitis contagious?
You cannot contract uveitis from another person since uveitis is an inflammatory disorder of the eye. However, certain infections, like tuberculosis, which can cause uveitis, are transmissible from person to person. Patients and their relatives should discuss possible causes of their uveitis with their Ophthalmologist.
5. How is Uveitis treated?
Since the causes of uveitis are many, the treatment of uveitis depends on each patient’s situation. As such, there is no single correct answer to this question. Patients and their relatives are encouraged to discuss treatment options with their uveitis specialists.
6. Can Uveitis cause blindness?
Again, since the etiologies of uveitis are multi-faceted, it is difficult to come up with a specific answer to this question. Disease severity, non-response and/or resistance to treatment, delay in therapy and secondary complications that may arise from the disease and its management are a few factors that can result in poor visual results, including blindness. With modern targeted treatments now available, few individuals with uveitis should suffer devastating visual outcomes, especially if informed, cooperative and compliant.
7. Where can we find a specialist in Uveitis?
Uveitis can be diagnosed by a general ophthalmologist who may also manage the disease if it is mild. If the inflammation is severe, persistent, difficult to treat, unusual, or if the general ophthalmologist or the patient wishes, then a referral can and should be made to a specialist in Uveitis.