Frequently Asked Questions about Uveitis
What are the most common symptoms of Uveitis and what should I do?
The symptoms are related to the anatomical location of the uveitis. If the uveitis affects the front of the eye, then you will have a red, painful eye and blurred vision. The onset is generally acute and so you should visit an emergency eye unit. In the case of intermediate and posterior uveitis, the symptoms may include distorted vision, vision loss in central areas or floaters. You should visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible if notice any of these symptoms.
Rheumatic diseases cause the highest number of cases of uveitis, particularly ankylosing spondylitis. It can also be associated with underlying immune diseases, such as Behçet’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease or sarcoidosis. The infections associated with uveitis are those produced by the herpes virus group (herpes simplex and herpes zoster). Additionally, a relevant number of cases are associated with toxoplasmosis and tuberculosis.
In the case of infection-related uveitis, it is essential to identify the causal agent and initiate antiviral or antibiotic therapy. In some cases, an analysis of intraocular fluids and some molecular biology tests must be performed in order to establish the diagnosis. In the case of non-infectious uveitis, it depends on the subtype of uveitis. Many patients require a systemic treatment with immunosuppressants to control the inflammation over an extended period so that it may heal. Biologic medicines currently available for the treatment of uveitis are very effective.
Due to their side effects, immunosuppressants have a negative impact on patient quality of life as they limit certain activities, above all physical activities. Nevertheless, a significant proportion of patients can go still about their daily activities as usual. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that lifestyle or the risk factors bear any relation to the course or onset of uveitis.
Uveitis is not a hereditary disease. There is an immunogenetic predisposition to developing certain types of uveitis. This can be studied by determining the HLA histocompatibility antigens. For example, certain types of acute anterior uveitis are positive for the antigen HLA-BW27.
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