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​The uvea is the middle layer of the wall of the eyeball consisting of iris, ciliary body and choroid. 

It plays an important role in the normal functioning of the eye. Uveitis virtually means inflammation of these uveal structures.

  1. The iris, acts as a shutter, controlling the size of the eye's opening (the pupil)
  2. The ciliary body contains muscles that help the eye to focus
  3. The choroid contains many blood vessels thereby providing the eye with oxygen and nutrients

Inflammation is the body's response to injury and may be caused by:

  1. Trauma (e.g. a blow)
  2. Eye surgery
  3. Infection (e.g. a virus or bacteria)
  4. It can also be due to problems of the body's immune system that can also affect other parts of the body

However in most cases, the exact cause is unknown.

Inflammation is a natural process in the healing of the body to any damage. However, this inflammation can cause serious damage as well. In uveitis, this can result in many complications including blindness.

​Symptoms of anterior uveitis typically include:

  • Light sensitivity or glare
  • Blurring of vision especially when focusing on near or distant objects
  • Pain and redness around the eye

Symptoms of intermediate and posterior uveitis may include:

  • Floaters
  • Blurring of vision

​When your eye doctor diagnoses and treats you for uveitis, they may categorise it by the part of the uvea it affects: anterior, intermediate or posterior uveitis.

  • Anterior uveitis affects the front of the eye and is often called iritis. This is the most common type of uveitis in children and adults (40-70% of all uveitis). This usually comes on suddenly and you may experience pain, photophobia, blurring of vision and redness.
  • Intermediate uveitis affects the middle part of the eye (the ciliary body, the front parts of the retina and vitreous). This is not common (7-15% of uveitis). You may experience floaters or blurring of vision.
  • Posterior uveitis usually refers to inflammation of the choroid, however, it can also involve the retina, retinal vessels and optic nerve. This occurs in 15-20% of cases and is generally long-standing (may last weeks to years), may have multiple episodes and may affect both eyes. This is often due to an immune disease. However, infection caused by toxoplasmosis is the most common cause for posterior uveitis.
  • In some cases, inflammation affects the entire uvea. This is called panuveitis and is a very serious condition that can result in blindness.
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