Iritis is an inflammation of the iris, which is the colored portion of the eye. The iris is part of the uvea, highly vascular fibrous tissue. This condition frequently manifests in young to middle-aged individuals and may only affect one eye. Iritis may be caused by trauma to the eye, an infection or the effects of certain diseases.
The symptoms usually develop quite quickly and unexpectedly, but in some individuals they form slowly. Distinguishing symptoms of iritis may include:
- Irritation and redness of the eye
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
A diagnosis of iritis typically takes place after a physical examination of the eye. Your doctor may use a slit lamp to obtain a magnified view of the eye’s structures. In addition, when a light is focused on the unaffected eye, the eye with iritis will experience pain because the pupil will naturally constrict.
To treat iritis, the patient will be encouraged to wear dark glasses and take pupil dilating drops to relieve pain and pressure. Serious cases usually require extended use of steroid eye drops as well as oral steroids that suppress the immune system. When iritis results from an underlying condition such as herpes, AIDS or syphilis, the disease may need to be treated to see improvement in the eye and iritis may become a chronic problem.