What is Uveitis?
The uvea is the middle of the three layers making up the wall of the eye. Located between the sclera and retina, the uvea is the pigmented (colored) tissue visible in the front of the eye as the iris, but it also extends all the way to the back of the eye as the ciliary body and choroid. When inflammation involves the uvea, the term "uveitis" is used. Thus uveitis refers specifically to inflammation of that layer. However, the term uveitis is used by many individuals to refer to inflammation of any of the internal parts of the eye.

What is the difference in inflammation and infaction?
 is a process mounted by the body in response to a triggering event which is interpreted to be harmful to the body. This inflammatory response uses white blood cells (leukocytes) as well as other substances in the body to attempt to control the harmful process. As an example, when a splinter lodges in someone's finger, an inflammatory response occurs. This is why the area around the splinter becomes swollen, sore, red, and warm. The inflammatory response not only helps to control the harmful process, but to repair any damage which occurred, by scar tissue formation. An Infection is an invasion of the body by germs, which may be bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, or other organisms. An infection causes an inflammatory response, but the trigger is different than in noninfectious disease, in this case being a germ. Inflammatory diseases can occur without being caused by an infection, and in fact this is the typical situation in Uveitis, most of which are currently considered to be autoimmune in nature.
Therefore inflammation may occur without infection, but rarely does infection occur without inflammation. Uveitis is an inflammatoryydisease that can be caused by infectious OR noninfectious processes.

What causes Uveitis?
As mentioned in the answer above, uveitis may be caused by infectious and noninfectious processes. There are hundreds of possible causes of uveitis and many more which vision scientists have not even discovered yet! To gain more knowledge in those areas where information is known, visit the "Diseases" area of this web site.

Is Uveitis contagious?
In general, you cannot "catch" uveitis from someone else, no matter how close your contact with that person. Uveitis is an inflammatory disease within the eye. However, certain infections which can cause uveitis are transmissible from person to person, such as Tuberculosis and Syphilis. Patients should discuss possible causes of their uveitis with their physician.

How is Uveitis treated?
As with all diseases, the treatment of uveitis depends on each patient's unique situation, so there is no one correct answer to this question. Patients are encouraged to discuss therapeutic options with their individual physicians. In general, corticosteroids are typically one of the first-line forms of medical therapy, given either by drop, injection around the eye, pill form, or through the vein in severe cases. When corticosteroids are ineffective; a dose too high to be safe is required; or long-term medication usage is required; then steroid-sparing therapy may be used. Several different options are available. Uveitis patients may need surgical therapy as well, such as cataract extraction, glaucoma surgery, vitrectomy, and other procedures.

Can Uveitis cause one to go blind?
Uveitis is not a single disease and therefore it is not possible to make sweeping generalizations. Similar to other diseases, there is a broad spectrum of severity and the same disease may affect two individuals in completely different ways. Some general comments can be made, however. Severe uveitis that is resistant to treatment; uveitis that is not promptly and effectively treated; or uveitis that is accompanied by significant secondary complications may result in poor visual outcomes, including blindness. Despite this, with appropriate modern therapy in informed, cooperative patients, few individuals with uveitis should suffer such devastating outcomes.




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