What Is Uveitis?

The uvea is the pigmented middle layer of the eye – between the sclera and the retina – which also includes the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. Anything that affects the uvea can affect your vision.

Uveitis is an inflammation of the inside of the eye. Causes can include allergy, infection, chemical exposure, trauma – or the cause may be unknown. Because it may be associated with more than 100 diseases, uveitis also serves as an indication of other medical problems.

Types of AMD

Anterior: Swelling of the uvea near the front of the eye. This starts suddenly and can last up to 8 weeks.
Intermediate: Swelling of the uvea in the middle of the eye. Can last from a few weeks to many years.
Posterior: Welling of the uvea toward the back of the eye. This can develop gradually and last for many years.
Wherever the location, if left untreated, the inflammation can lead to blindness.

Risk Factors

  • A history of autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis to name a few) is a high risk factor
  • Heredity
  • Smoking increases your risk of getting uveitis

How is Uveitis Diagnosed?

A dilated eye exam will be performed. Additional testing such as OCT and fluorescein angiography may also be necessary. Since uveitis is often connected with other diseases or conditions, some laboratory testing may also be needed.


There are many different treatments for uveitis depending on what parts of the eye are involved, associated medical conditions and the severity of involvement. Often, an eye drop that reduces inflammation (corticosteroids) is used for the front of the eye. Eye drops, however, cannot treat uveitis in the back of the eye. When the back of the eye is involved, injection of medicine around the eye, or an oral medication may be needed.

Uveitis can lead to other problems such as glaucoma, cataract, scar tissue in the eye, and new blood vessel growth. This may require laser or surgical treatment.