What is iritis?

Iritis (or Uveitis) is a condition where there is inflammation inside the eye. It can affect the front, middle or back of the eye. If it is severe it can affect the entire eye.

What are the common symptoms of iritis?

  • redness
  • light sensitivity
  • pain in the eye or brow area
  • new floaters
  • blurred vision

What causes iritis?

Iritis can occur on its own (most cases) without any obvious cause, or it can be associated with a systemic medical condition or infection. Your doctor will take a detailed history to see if you are at risk of having a systemic condition or infection. If there is concern, or this is not your first episode of iritis, your doctor may order blood work and/or x-rays to investigate this further. Iritis can sometimes also be present with other eye conditions, which your doctor will check for.

How is iritis treated?

Iritis is most commonly treated with drops.

  1. Steroid drops:
    1. Used for their anti-inflammatory properties
    2. Can range from a few times a day to every hour depending on how severe the condition is
    3. Need to shake these drops before putting them in
  2. Steroid Ointment
    • Used at bedtime to avoid having to put drops in while you are sleeping
  3. Dilating Drops
    1. Used to prevent scar tissue from forming in the iris (coloured part of your eye) and can make you feel more comfortable
    2. Often used two times per day
  4. Other drops
    • other drops may be used as indicated and decided upon by your doctor

How often do I need to be seen?

This depends upon how severe the episode is, and how it responds to treatment. It may range from every few days, to weeks, to every few months. Each patient will respond in a different way.

What are the potential complications of chronic iritis?

The majority of cases of iritis are treated and the patient returns to normal. However, there are situations where the clinical course may become complicated.

Complications may include:

  • increased eye pressure
  • cataracts
  • an irregular shaped pupil
  • swelling of the retina

If I have iritis, will I need to see other specialists?

Occasionally, an episode of iritis is very difficult to treat despite our best efforts. Other physicians may need to be consulted to help take care of you. These include, but are not limited to specialists in: Retina, Uveitis, Glaucoma, Rheumatology, Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine.

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