It refers to the condition of the eye, where there are certain changes in the internal structures of the eye, as if the eye reacts in response to an attack by a foreign object and develops adverse reactions every time the attack is repeated. Most of the times, this supposedly foreign object is a micro-organism such as bacteria, virus, fungi etc or an inflammatory component of a disease that affects the body such as sarcoidosis, Rheumatoid arthritis etc. However, the cause is unknown in many patients. In majority of patients, there is recurrence and can have disease free periods in between.
The disease process is named as anterior if the lesions are restricted to the structures of the eye in front of lens and posterior uveitis if it involves posterior structures beyond the lens. Panuveitis refers to the condition when all the layers are involved by the disease process.
The patients present with complaints of redness, pain and diminished vision. In patients in whom, there is associated systemic disease such as Tuberculosis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Behcet’s disease etc, there will be symptoms involving joints, skin, lungs etc. so patient can have joint pain, back pain, skin lesions, chronic cough, bowel disturbances etc.
The treatment options include steroids in the form of eyedrops, injection into eyes, immune suppressants/ modulatory drugs and treatment for systemic disease as well. As the disease process is prolonged with recurrence and recovery alternatingly, patient needs to follow the drug regimen strictly and have a regular follow-up.