Although uveitis is defined as inflammation of the uvea, or uveal tract (iris, ciliary body and choroid), it can occur in any part of the eye including the retina, vitreous, cornea, sclera, optic nerve and lens. It can occur secondary to infection, autoimmune disorders (which causes the body to attack its own tissues), or sometimes for unknown reasons. A majority of uveitis cases are usually not associated with coexisting systemic disease and hence are referred to as idiopathic.
An eye doctor or uveitis specialist makes the diagnosis and treatment based on the symptoms and a complete physical examination. Depending on suspicion for diseases that also affects other organs, appropriate tests are done. Uveitis is a serious eye disease and can rapidly damage the eye. It can cause long-term, vision-threatening complications, such as glaucoma, and cataracts. Many people have only one episode of uveitis. Others may have periodic recurrences over months to years. Uveitis can occur because of infection, autoimmune disorders (which causes the body to attack its own tissues), or for unknown reasons. Examples of autoimmune disorders include; Anklosing Spondylitis, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Addison’s Disease, Hepatitis, Behcet’s Disease, Pemphigoid, Crohn’s Disease, Dermatomyositis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Grave’s Disease, Juvenile Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Polyarteritis Nodosa, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Psoriasis, Reiter’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sarcoidosis, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Temporal Arteritis/Giant Cell Arteritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Wegener’s Granulomatosis. Infections include tuberculosis, syphilis, Lyme disease, herpes simplex virus, shingles (varicella-zoster virus), toxoplasmosis, and cytomegalovirus.