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What is iritis?

Iritis is an inflammation affecting the iris. Because the iris is part of the middle layer of the eye called the uvea, iritis may also be referred to as anterior uveitis.

What are the symptoms of iritis?

Iritis may occur in either or both eyes. Typically iritis develops without warning, and can last from six to eight weeks. Symptoms may include redness of the eye, discomfort and aching in the affected eye, increased sensitivity to light, and decreased vision. If left untreated or treated improperly, iritis ay lead to glaucoma, cataracts, or vision loss.

What causes iritis?

In many cases, it is is difficult or impossible to determine the cause of iritis. Potential causes may include:
  • Ocular trauma or injury
  • Infection
  • Genetic predisposition as a result of autoimmune disease
  • Bechet’s disease
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Reaction to certain medications
Other risk factors that increase likelihood of iritis include:
  • Genetic alteration HLA-B27
  • STIs such as syphilis or HIV/AIDS
  • Smoking tobacco

How is iritis diagnosed?

Iritis can be diagnosed through a thorough eye examination. If iritis is suspected, your eye doctor may ask your primary care doctor to order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Further tests may include X-rays or blood tests to rule out other disease or potential causes of iritis. 

What are the treatments for iritis?

Treatment for iritis most often includes the use of steroid eyedrops, and/or dilating eyedrops. These reduce inflammation, pain, and can prevent complications affecting the pupil. If symptoms worsen or do not clear up, doctors may also prescribe oral steroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Where can I find out more about iritis?

Iritis Articles