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Iritis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About iritis

Iris is the coloured part of eye which is circular in shape and is responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil. It helps in controlling the amount of light reaching the pupil. Inflammation of the iris is referred to as iritis. This may occur due to localised causes but in a majority of cases, iritis may develop due to underlying systemic causes.

Iritis: Incidence, age and sex

Iritis can occur in an individual at any age. Both men and women are equally susceptible to iritis. In fact the incidence of iritis mainly depends upon the underlying cause of iritis.

Signs and symptoms of iritis: Diagnosis

The affected individual may present with intense pain in and around the affected eye. One or both eyes may get affected. Other features like increased sensitivity to bright light (photophobia), blurring of vision and redness of the eye may also occur. Some individuals may also experience black dots, referred to as ‘floaters’ in the field of vision.

The eye needs to be carefully examined by an eye specialist who may want to use slit lamp to magnify the eye structures. A detailed history and comprehensive physical examination may require an internist to detect any underlying systemic causes.

Causes and prevention of iritis

Iritis can be caused by localised factors or more commonly due to underlying generalised disorders. The most common localised cause of iritis is injury or trauma to the eye. The generalised infections which may lead to iritis include tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, syphilis, herpes simplex and herpes zoster infections. However, some autoimmune disorders such as ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis, irritable bowel disease, crohn’s disease and cancerous conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma and malignant melanoma are also known to result in iritis. There is no specific preventive measure.

Iritis: Complications

The complications of iritis like cataract, glaucoma and corneal changes may be seen in longstanding cases. Moreover, if iritis is not managed timely and adequately, it may lead to loss of vision in some cases.

Iritis: Treatment

The first and foremost step in treatment includes steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops to reduce the inflammation of iritis and subsequently provide relief to the individual. Other eye drops like mydriatics (pupil-dilating drugs) may also be prescribed for symptomatic relief. Sub-conjunctival steroid injections or oral steroids may be given to individuals who do not respond well with treatment with eye drops or to those who show recurrence. Moreover it is essential to evaluate the underlying generalized cause, if any and manage it. Follow up of treatment is recommended to detect any recurrence or setting in of cataract and glaucoma.