What is panuveitis?
Panuveitis is an inflammation throughout the eye, particularly throughout the uvea. The uvea is the middle part of the eye, between the white part of the eye (sclera) in the front and the retina and optic nerve in the back. Within the uvea, there’s the iris, the ciliary body (muscles that work with the lens), and the choroid (connective tissue and blood vessels in the middle of the eye). However, inflammation in the uvea can spread throughout other parts of the eye, including the retina, optic nerve, vitreous fluid, and lens, especially if the condition is left untreated.
What are the symptoms of panuveitis?
Sometimes, panuveitis shows up suddenly and acutely; other times it slowly builds or hums along in a low-key chronic stage. A visit to an ophthalmologist is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. Some common symptoms are:
- Blurring vision
- Light sensitivity (photophobia)
- Eye pain and redness
- Decreased vision
- Floaters in the vision
- White-colored area on part of the iris (hypopyon)
What causes panuveitis?
Sometimes panuveitis is idiopathic, i.e. there isn’t a good reason why it’s happening. However, if it recurs, it’s usually part of an underlying condition such as:
- Autoimmune disease
- Tumor (in the eye or elsewhere)
- Eye injury
- Exposure to toxins
There are some diseases that have a strong correlation with panuveitis, such as:
What treatment is available for panuveitis?
Immediate treatment for panuveitis is critical in order to help prevent vision loss. The treatment for panuveitis varies depending on its cause and severity. The standard treatment is corticosteroid eye drops, with oral prednisolone added if the case is severe enough. Both are started at a high dose and then gradually tapered. A slow taper is essential to preventing the panuveitis from immediately returning.
If the underlying cause is an autoimmune issue, then immunosuppressants or biologics that alter the immune system response are used to help prevent new episodes of panuveitis from occurring.
If an infection is the cause of panuveitis and the case is severe, an antibiotic is used with a steroid.
Where can I find more information about panuveitis?