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What is Uveitis?

Uveitis is a broad term that encompasses non-infectious inflammations of the eye. It typically occurs when the middle layer of the eyeball (called the uvea) becomes inflamed and leeches inflammatory cells and debris into the other parts of the eye. Uveitis can damage vital eye tissues, including the retina and optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss. Sometimes it is short lived and lasts only days or weeks, but in other patients it may become a lifelong condition that needs to be managed but cannot be cured.

Anterior Uveitis

Anterior Uveitis which is inflammation in the front of the eye. This is often termed iritis, because the iris is the anterior part of the uvea.

Intermediate Uveitis

Intermediate Uveitis is swelling of the uvea in the middle of the eye. Usually this involves the vitreous gel just behind the iris, and often mostly the inferior vitreous.

Posterior Uveitis

Posterior Uveitis is swelling of the uvea toward the back of the eye. It causes edema of the retina and causes the greatest threat to long term visual health.


Panuveitis is when the entire eye is inflamed, from front to back.

How can Uveitis be prevented and treated?

Uveitis can develop suddenly. Your symptoms may include a red eye with or without pain, light sensitivity, blurry vision and/or seeing floaters or black specks in your vision.  Contact your eye doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Your eye doctor will examine the inside of your eye and may recommend some additional diagnostic testing such as a physical exam, blood or skin tests, examination of eye fluids, X-rays and even neuro-imaging tests.

Uveitis must be treated right away to prevent lasting problems. It may be treated with steroid eye drops that will reduce inflammation. More severe or chronic conditions may need to be treated with intraocular injection of steroids. Severe cases require treatment with oral or even intravenous medications that may need to be co-managed by a rheumatologist.