August 24, 2016
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Uveitis (cont.)

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What is the treatment for uveitis?

Because uveitis is an inflammatory condition, the urgent treatment centers on control of the inflammation. This can be achieved with steroids given as eye drops, injection in or around the eye, orally (by mouth), or intravenously, depending on the extent and severity of the inflammation.

In certain situations, alternatives to steroids (such as indomethacin, methotrexate, and others) may be used.

The duration of the treatment may be as short as a week or several months or even years, depending on the cause.

If the cause is infectious, an anti-infective medication will also be used (for example antibiotic, antiviral, or antifungal) to combat the underlying infectious agent.

What is the prognosis for uveitis?

The prognosis varies tremendously: some types are mild and occur only once, never to recur again. Others recur repeatedly over the years, coming and going at seemingly random and unpredictable intervals. Still other types never completely subside and linger for years, requiring chronic treatment to prevent flare-ups.

What are the complications of uveitis?

Uveitis has many potentially serious complications that can lead to permanent, irreversible vision loss. For this reason, it is imperative that uveitis be treated rapidly and to the best extent possible.

If the inflammation continues unchecked, complications may include sudden or chronic rises in eye pressure that can lead to permanent damage of the optic nerves, resulting in irreversible vision loss (glaucoma). The inflammation can also damage delicate cells on the cornea and retina, causing fluid buildup that blurs and damages the vision, sometimes irreversibly.

For these reasons, uveitis should ideally be treated as aggressively as possible. The medications used to treat uveitis have side effects of their own, some of them serious. The ophthalmologist, often together with the patient's other doctor(s), balances the risks and benefits of the drug(s) against the potential damage that can result from undertreated uveitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/18/2015


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