Uveitis

  • Medical Author:
    Patricia S. Bainter, MD

    Dr. Bainter is a board-certified ophthalmologist. She received her BA from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and her MD from the University of Colorado in Denver, CO. She completed an internal medicine internship at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, CO, followed by an ophthalmology residency and a cornea and external disease fellowship, both at the University of Colorado. She became board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1998 and recertified in 2008. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Bainter practices general ophthalmology including cataract surgery and management of corneal and anterior segment diseases. She has volunteered in eye clinics in the Dominican Republic and Bosnia. She currently practices at One to One Eye Care in San Diego, CA.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is uveitis?

Uveitis is inflammation of the 'uvea' of the eye. The uvea is made up of three parts. The first part is the iris, which is the colored ring of tissue you can see in the mirror. The dark hole in the middle of the iris is the pupil. The second and third parts, which you cannot see directly when looking in a mirror, are the ciliary body and the choroid. They are located behind the iris. An ophthalmologist can visualize them using special examination equipment.

Inflammation of the iris is called iritis. Inflammation of the ciliary body is called intermediate uveitis or cyclitis. Inflammation of the choroid is called choroiditis. Inflammation of all three is called panuveitis.

What causes uveitis?

There are several causes of uveitis, including autoimmune disorders (such as sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Behcet's disease, and ankylosing spondylitis), infections (such as syphilis and toxoplasmosis), and trauma. Additionally, some are “idiopathic,” meaning the cause is unknown.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/18/2015
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