What is iritis?

The iris is the round, colored front part of the eye with the dark pupil in the center. The iris is made up of muscle fibers that control the amount of light that enters the pupil, allowing us to see clearly.

The iris performs this function as the pupil contracts in stronger light and dilates in weaker light. The iris represents the front part of the uveal tract of the eye / the iris in the anterior and ciliary body and the uveal tract behind it/. In some circumstances, the iris can become inflamed, a condition called iritis.

Inflammation of the front part of the eye is also referred to as anterior uveitis.

What are the symptoms?

The disease iritis usually develops quickly and usually affects only one eye. Signs and symptoms are most often expressed in:

  • Pain in the area of ​​the eyes or forehead. An exception to this rule is iritis in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, as they are often pain-free. Due to the lack of pain, the condition can often be confused with mild irritation of the eye, but should not be ignored.
  • Redness of the eye, especially near the iris;
  • Small or pupil irregularly shaped;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Headache;
  • Eye pain aggravated by exposure to bright light;
  • Iritis may lead to glaucoma and/or cataracts, resulting in significant vision loss;

What are the causes

The condition can be the result of trauma, but in most cases the cause cannot be detected.

When the cause is not trauma, the condition is associated with certain systemic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. Special attention should be paid to the iritis associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The condition may have an infectious cause and be due to the following diseases: Lyme disease, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, syphilis, or herpes simplex and herpes zoster virus infections.

Treatment of iritis

Mild analgesics may help temporarily while you see an ophthalmologist. Prescription drugs are most often used for treatment and follow-up examinations by an ophthalmologist are necessary, so you should seek medical help in a timely manner.

  • Use the medicines as prescribed by the doctor;
  • Wear dark glasses if exposure to light makes you uncomfortable;
  • You can take mild analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, which can control the discomfort to a certain extent.

The drugs that are administered aim to prevent spasm of the muscle fibers of the iris. This helps reduce eye pain. But drops that dilate the pupils will make your eyes more sensitive to bright light and cause blurred near vision.

Eye drops containing a steroid /cortisone/ are most often prescribed, unless the inflammation is due to an infectious agent – viruses or bacteria. Steroid eye drops will help reduce inflammation of the iris.

If the eye does not improve within a week, the ophthalmologist prescribes steroids in tablets or injections that are placed around the eye. The duration of the treatment depends on the severity of the disease and the extent to which the affected eye is affected by the treatment.

Keep in mind that drops and tablets should only be used as prescribed by an ophthalmologist, as they can have serious side effects, even causing glaucoma or cataracts in some more sensitive patients.

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