Being diagnosed with any eye condition can be alarming, so if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with uveitis, you might be concerned. Uveitis can be a dangerous disease for the eyes, but with treatment from an optometrist, it's manageable. Read on to learn more about this disease, its effects, and what can be done to control it.
What Uveitis Is
Uveitis is a disease of the eye that's triggered by an autoimmune response in the body. In essence, the body's immune system is supposed to only attack foreign cells in an effort to protect the body from infection and disease. However, with autoimmune disorders, those immune system cells misbehave and attack healthy cells, too.
Uveitis is limited to the eyes, though it sometimes develops alongside other autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with uveitis, you should consider a full physical to look for other autoimmune diseases elsewhere in the body.
What Uveitis Does
When uveitis attacks the cells of the eye, inflammation is the first problem that develops. The healthy cells are damaged or killed, which results in redness, discomfort, and swelling in the eye. Vision may also be affected, as the tissues responsible for generating vision -- like the retina -- may be under attack.
If left untreated, uveitis can cause severe damage to the eye and even damage the tissues sufficiently to cause blindness.
In some instances, uveitis will go into remission on its own, like any autoimmune disease. However, you can't rely upon this happening, so treatment is necessary.
After diagnosing a patient with uveitis, the optometrist will develop a plan to treat the disease. This generally calls for the use of steroid eye drops or gels to reduce the immune system's impact on the localized area. Steroid eye medicine will also help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Although oral medicines can help to control the immune system, it's not the preferred treatment for uveitis, since it impacts the entire body. However, if you or your loved one are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases elsewhere in the body, your physician will need to work with your optometrist to develop a treatment plan that tackles all of your autoimmune disorders.
Eye doctors will want to see their uveitis patients on a regular basis in order to monitor the disease. If treatment is inadequate, the doctor may change medication or raise the dose to control the symptoms of the disease. Maintaining a regular visit schedule is necessary to keep the damage uveitis can cause at bay, so don't skip appointments at any cost.Share
7 May 2017
When a friend of mine started experiencing cloudy vision, they decided to put off a trip to their optometrist's office. Unfortunately, three months later, they found themselves completely blind in one eye—a condition that ended up being permanent. It turned out that they had an undiagnosed eye infection that destroyed their vision. After hearing about that problem, we realized that it might be smart to visit our eye doctor early—before permanent problems set in. Check out this blog for reasons not to skip out on early vision appointments, so that you can protect your family's vision and keep everyone happy and healthy.