Uveitis is a condition that affects the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea. This layer is responsible for supplying blood to the retina and helps protect the eye from harmful substances. When this layer becomes inflamed, it can cause discomfort and potentially lead to vision loss if left untreated.
There are different types of uveitis that can occur, each with its own causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches. Regardless of the type, however, one thing is sure: prompt treatment from an experienced eye doctor is crucial in managing this condition and preventing further complications. Dr. A'sha Brown, a board-certified ophthalmologist at Infinity Retina, is one such expert in the field of uveitis. With her extensive knowledge and experience, she is dedicated to providing the best possible care for her patients in the Media community.
The Anatomy of the Uvea
The uvea, or the middle layer of the eye, is primarily composed of three parts: the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid.
- Iris: This is the colored part of the eye. It controls the amount of light that enters by adjusting the size of the pupil. It is the most forward part of the uvea and contains smooth muscle fibers that contract or relax to change pupil size in response to light.
- Ciliary body: Situated behind the iris, the ciliary body is responsible for producing the aqueous humor (the fluid that fills the front part of the eye). It also contains the ciliary muscles, which control the shape of the lens to allow the eye to focus on objects at varying distances.
- Choroid: This layer is filled with blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the outer layers of the retina. It's located between the sclera, the white outer layer of the eye, and the delicate retina, ensuring these structures have the essential nourishment they need to function effectively.
The Different Types of Uveitis
Uveitis is categorized based on its location within the eye. It can be classified as anterior, intermediate, posterior, or panuveitis, and it can affect one or both eyes.
Anterior uveitis, the most common form, affects the front part of the eye. Symptoms often include eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. If left untreated, it can lead to glaucoma, cataracts, and, in rare cases, vision loss.
Intermediate uveitis, as the name suggests, involves inflammation in the middle section of the eye, notably the vitreous humor. Common uveitis symptoms such as floaters and blurred vision are prevalent, and sometimes, there might be peripheral vision loss. This type often affects young adults and may cause complications like retinal swelling or detachment in severe cases.
Posterior uveitis affects the back of the eye, specifically the retina and the optic nerve. This inflammation can impact the blood vessels feeding the retina, leading to serious eye inflammation and visual disturbances like floaters or decreased vision. If not treated promptly, it can cause permanent vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve.
Panuveitis refers to inflammation afflicting all three layers of the uvea. This severe form of uveitis can cause intense eye pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. Given the widespread eye inflammation involved, panuveitis poses a significant risk for severe vision loss if not treated promptly and effectively. Though it is the most serious form of uveitis, it is also the least common.
Causes and Risk Factors
- Eye injury
- Eye surgery
Infectious uveitis can happen as the result of a bacterial, fungal, protozoa, or viral infection that has spread to the eyes from another part of the body. Noninfectious uveitis, on the other hand, can result from an autoimmune disease, allergy, or radiation.
With autoimmune diseases, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues, including parts of the eye. Examples of autoimmune diseases that can cause uveitis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other systemic inflammatory disorders like sarcoidosis or Behcet's disease.
It's important to note that while these factors can increase the likelihood of developing uveitis, having them doesn't guarantee that the condition will occur.
How a Retina Specialist Can Help
Retina specialists play a pivotal role in diagnosing and treating uveitis, a condition that, if left unmanaged, can lead to permanent vision loss. Uveitis is most commonly detected through a regular dilated eye exam, which is both simple and painless. Your eye doctor will administer eye drops to dilate the pupil, which allows for a thorough examination of the eye for uveitis and other potential problems. Diagnostic imaging and lab testing may also be used.
After confirming a diagnosis of uveitis, a retina specialist can help devise an appropriate treatment plan. Often, this involves the prescription of steroids, which are medicines known to reduce inflammation in the eye. This not only helps alleviate symptoms but also prevents further vision loss. These steroids can be administered in several ways, including eye drops, pills, injections, or implants.
Early detection and treatment of uveitis by a retina specialist can significantly improve the condition's prognosis, minimizing the risk of complications and preserving vision. Their expertise and specialized knowledge enable them to provide comprehensive, effective care tailored to each patient's unique needs. Therefore, if you experience symptoms indicative of uveitis, it's crucial to seek consultation with a retina specialist promptly.
Dr. Brown’s Expertise
As the owner and sole practitioner at Infinity Retina, Dr. Brown brings an extraordinary depth of expertise in managing both acute and chronic uveitis conditions. Her passion for ophthalmology, which sparked at the age of nineteen, has been the driving force behind her relentless pursuit of knowledge and proficiency in this specialized field.
After completing her undergraduate studies at Boston University, Dr. Brown received her Doctorate of Medicine from Drexel University College of Medicine. Her passion for eye care led her to complete her ophthalmology residency at Drexel, where she was recognized as co-chief resident. After residency, Dr. Brown continued her training with a fellowship in ophthalmology at Emory University's prestigious Eye Center, focusing specifically on Medical Retina & Uveitis. Her extensive education and training have equipped her with the knowledge and skills necessary to diagnose and treat even the most complex cases of uveitis. She is also board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, ensuring that she stays up-to-date on the latest advancements in the field.
With a stellar record in providing high-quality patient care, Dr. Brown dedicates herself to ensuring positive outcomes for her patients and making a significant impact on the community. Her commitment to perfecting her craft and expanding her expertise has positioned her as a trusted figure in the diagnosis and treatment of uveitis, making her an invaluable resource for patients seeking specialized care.
Get Started With Infinity Retina
If you are experiencing symptoms or concerns related to uveitis, don't hesitate to take the next step for your eye health. Contact Infinity Retina today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brown and begin your journey toward improved vision and overall eye health.