Causes and Treatment for Ocular Inflammatory Disease By Dr. Parks on June 25, 2020

ophthalmologist performing an eye exam on a male patient

Sudden redness, blurred vision, or discomfort may be indicative of uveitis, or ocular inflammatory disease. This condition affects the eye’s middle layer of tissue and may lead to serious issues, including vision loss. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to preserve your vision and eye health. In this article, our ophthalmology team in Beverly Hills, CA, explores the causes, symptoms, and treatment of ocular inflammatory disease.

What Is Uveitis?

Uveitis is an umbrella term used to describe a group of ocular inflammatory diseases. The condition is called uveitis because it most often affects the uvea, the pigmented layer of the eye. However, this condition can also involve the lens, vitreous, retina, and optic nerve. Uveitis produces swelling that can ultimately destroy the eye tissues, leading to reduced vision or total vision loss. The disease can be acute or chronic, and it can affect patients of all ages – even children.

What Causes Ocular Inflammatory Disease?

Despite the name, ocular inflammatory disease is less a disease than a reaction to some other condition. Ultimately, it is an inflammatory response to toxins, germs, or tissue damage and may be caused by:

  • Bruises that affect the eye
  • Infections originating in the eye or in other parts of the body
  • Tumors 
  • Autoimmunity
  • Contamination from toxins 

How to Identify Uveitis 

Symptoms of uveitis may develop quickly or gradually over time. Some of the most common symptoms of ocular inflammatory disease include:

  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Dark, floating spots
  • Photophobia, or light sensitivity

Oftentimes, uveitis does not present any symptoms. For this reason routine ophthalmology appointments at our Beverly Hills, CA, practice are necessary to detect issues before they worsen.

Treatment for Ocular Inflammatory Disease

There are several approaches that may be taken in the treatment of ocular inflammatory disease. For example, if it is caused by an underlying condition, then your doctor may focus solely on treating that condition. The ultimate goal is to reduce inflammation in the eye, and thereby decrease the risk of further complications. Treatment can be categorized into two groups: medications and surgery.

Medications

There are several different medications that are used in the treatment of uveitis. Here are some of the most common types:< /p> Anti-inflammatory: Corticosteroid eye drops, injections, or oral medications may be necessary to shrink blood vessels and reduce swelling in the eye.

  • Anti-spasm: Certain types of eye drops can dilate the pupil, control spasms, and reduce eye pain.
  • Antibacterial or antiviral: If the condition is due to a virus or bacteria, the most appropriate medication may be prescribed without the use of anti-inflammatories to bring infection under control.
  • Medications that destroy cells: If uveitis begins to affect your vision, immunosuppressive medications may be necessary. This is particularly true if the condition does not respond well to corticosteroids.

Surgical Procedures

Individuals with posterior uveitis – in which the back of the eye is inflamed – may require a drug-releasing implant. This device is implanted into the eye and slowly releases corticosteroids for the next two to three years.

Vitrectomy is another possible treatment for ocular inflammatory disease, though it is rarely used. During this procedure, some of the gel-like substance inside of the eye called the vitreous body is removed. 

Learn More about Our Ophthalmology Services

Ocular inflammatory disease is a serious condition that must be treated promptly. To learn more about our comprehensive ophthalmology services, contact us online anytime. You can also call our Beverly Hills, CA, office at (310) 289-3666.

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Dr. David J. Parks

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